Prominent Dissident Writer Likely to Be Prosecuted Soon
One year after the arrest of prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, former President and Board member of Independent Chinese PEN Center, his case has been transferred to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate with a recommendation to prosecute. Liu is now expected to be tried on charges of “incitement to subversion” for his role in publishing Charter 08 and articles published online since 2005. Liu Xiaobo was arrested on December 8, 2008, for his role in publishing Charter 08, a document calling for political reform and human rights. International PEN is dismayed by the recommendation, and continues to demand the immediate and unconditional release of dissident writer Liu Xiaobo and all those detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
According to the PEN’s information, on December 8, 2009, Liu Xiaobo’s lawyer received a notice from the authorities that his client’s case had been transferred to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate with a recommendation to initiate a prosecution. This marks the end of the investigation period, which began with Liu’s formal arrest on June 23, 2009, on charges of “incitement to subversion of state power.” The prosecutor now has one month to decide whether to accept the police recommendation. Liu Xiaobo was arrested on December 8, 2008, and held under “residential surveillance,” a form of pre-trial detention, at an undisclosed location in Beijing until he was formally charged on June 23, 2009. According to the official Xinhua news agency, he is accused of “spreading rumors and defaming the government, aimed at subversion of the state and overthrowing the socialism system in recent years.” The charge carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.
Liu Xiaobo is among a large number of dissidents to have been detained or harassed since December 2008 after issuing an open letter calling on the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to ratify the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and launching Charter 08, a declaration calling for political reforms and human rights published on December 9, 2008. These activities were part of campaigns to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10), and were initially signed by over 300 scholars, journalists, freelance writers and activists and now have over 10,000 signatories from throughout China.
Liu Xiaobo first received support from International PEN in 1989, when he was part of one of groups of writers and intellectuals given the label the “Black Hands of Beijing” by the government and arrested for their part in the Tiananmen Square protests. Prior to his current arrest, Liu has spent a total of five years in prison, including a three year sentence passed in 1996, and has suffered frequent short arrests, harassment and censorship. In January 2009 over 300 writers signed a petition calling for his release.
Write A Letter
- Expressing dismay about the charge of "incitement to subversion" brought against prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo solely for his peaceful dissident activities;
- Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
Send Your Letter To
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China State Council
Mr. Meng Jianzhu
Minister of the Public Security
East Chang'an Avenue 14
Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. PEN recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country, asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.
Please check with PEN if sending appeals after December 24, 2009: ftw [at] pen.org