ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue72

Who Was "Liu Xiaobo"?

Liu Xiaobo (Chinese: 刘晓波, 28 December 1955 – 13 July 2017) was a Chinese literary critic, poet, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms and was involved in campaigns to end Communist single-party rule in China. He was sometimes referred to as China's Nelson Mandela. He was incarcerated as a political prisoner in Jinzhou, Liaoning. On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and he died in hospital on 13 July 2017.

Liu rose to fame in literary circles with his literary critiques and he eventually became a visiting scholar at several overseas universities. He returned to China to support the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and was imprisoned for the first time from 1989 to 1991, again from 1995 to 1996 yet again from 1996 to 1999 for his involvement in the democracy and human rights movement. He served as the President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, from 2003 to 2007. He was also the president of Minzhu Zhongguo (Democratic China) magazine since the mid-1990s. On 8 December 2008, Liu was detained due to his participation with the Charter 08 manifesto. He was formally arrested on 23 June 2009 on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power". He was tried on the same charges on 23 December 2009, and sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment and two years' deprivation of political rights on 25 December 2009.

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