Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Chinese government is pursuing its crackdown against dissidents a month after Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Sentenced to 11 years on subversion charges, the dissident co-authored the pro-democracy manifesto Charter 08. Chinese authorities are afraid that a leading Chinese figure might leave the country to accept the prize on Liu’s behalf. Meanwhile, the latter remains jailed in Jinzhou prison in Liaoning.
Mo Shaoping, a lawyer who has represented most Chinese dissidents in court, was stopped from boarding a plane at Beijing International Airport. He was on his way to a lawyers' conference in London. “They said it was because I may do something to harm national interests,” he explained.
Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, had mentioned Mo as someone who might go to Norway to accept the prize on the dissident’s behalf at the 10 December ceremony. She and dozens of dissidents have been under house arrest since 8 October when the prestigious prize was announced.
Liu Xiaobo, 54, is a literature professor. Last year, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his writings on democracy.
Other important dissidents have been arrested as well. A list drawn up by Chinese Human Rights Defenders includes Guo Xianliang, an engineer in Yunnan, who was seized in Guangzhou as he handed out flyers about Liu Xiaobo. He is currently detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” the same offence for which Liu Xiaobo is imprisoned.
Wang Lihong, Wu Gan and Zhao Changqing were given lighter sentences. They received eight days of administrative detention after police detained them at a gathering on 8 October to celebrate Liu’s victory. They have been released but are currently under strict surveillance. (For more on dissidents under arrest, see “Crackdown against dissidents continues after Liu Xiaobo Nobel,” in AsiaNews, 21 October 2010).
The great statesman talks about his friendship with the great dissident, who was left to die of cancer by the authorities. Liu’s peaceful and non-violent proposals in the 2008 manifesto are almost all already in the Chinese constitution; yet Liu was convicted for "subverting state power". Bao proposes the nationalisation of the army and federalism.
Denied outside contacts, Liu Xiaobo's wife is under tight police surveillance and can barely visit her jailed husband.
For the great statesman, prison authorities deliberately overlooked the seriousness of the illness for a long time, which makes it a "deliberate homicide". Bao and other friends call on Xi Jinping to grand Liu Xiaobo a pardon. But for the Global Times, Liu still has to complete his sentence because he is a "subversive."
Group appeals to the international community to provide medical care to him and hospitality to his family. Denying medical treatment is a life-threatening form of torture. Since May, Liu’s wife has been asking the authorities to let her husband get treatment abroad. “His best chance is probably getting a liver transplant but we can’t see that happening in China,” says pro-democracy activist. Taiwan offers to welcome and treat the dissident. Beijing rejects foreign interference. “Liu Xiaobo is a Chinese citizen,” says a foreign ministry spokesman.
He has been allowed treatment outside the prison, but he will not seek medical treatment abroad. In 2009, he was sentenced to 11 years for "inciting subversion of state power" after he co-authored Charter 08. Whilst in prison, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.