Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Liu Xiaobo - one of China's most outspoken rights activists

Chinese civil rights activist Liu Xiaobo is one of the best-known critics of China's communist power apparatus, a battle he has been waging for the past two decades. Despite all the efforts by the state security organs to intimidate him, for the past two decades the author has over and again spoken out for political reforms, democracy and freedom of opinion in China.
The 52-year-old Liu, born in Changchun in north-eastern China, has since 2003 headed the Chinese chapter of the independent writers' organization Pen.

Liu Xiaobo can look back on a long record of time spent in jail.

After the bloody massacre against the democracy movement in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, Liu - who was already known for his literary criticism and philosophical writings - spent nearly two years in detention because he had defended the students' actions and demanded an investigation of the massacre. He also lost his position as a lecturer at Beijing Normal University.
After his release, Liu Xiaobo once again became active in the dissident scene. In 1996, he was sent to a re-education camp for three years.

As the internet developed in China, so so, did Liu Xiaobo become one of the most prolific critics of Chinese attempts to obstruct websites and to persecute internet authors in China.

For his activities, the international group Reporters Without Borders cited Liu Xiaobo in 2004 with its press freedom prize.

Last March, after the unrest in Tibet, Liu Xiaobo and other human rights activists joined in calling for a dialogue between the government and the Dalai Lama, as well as for genuine freedom of religion in Tibet. But they opposed demands for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.
Although China's state security apparatus had warned dissidents against speaking with foreign journalists during the Olympics, Liu Xiaobo continued to make himself available for interviews. He openly criticized the suppression of civil rights activists, petitioners and lawyers in connection with the Olympic games.

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