Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Protesting the Sentence of Liu Xiaobo

WHAT: Protest the 11-year prison sentence imposed on
Liu Xiaobo by the government of the Peoples Republic of China

WHEN: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Consulate of the Peoples Republic of China
42nd Street & 12th Avenue , New York , NY 10036

CONTACT: Ann Noonan 646/251-6069
Jonathan Cao 917/292-7348
Dr. Anna Cheung 516-708-3985

SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Dr. Wang Juntao, Prominent June 4th dissidents, masterhand on the June 4th 1989 democratic movement; Mr. Hu Ping, Beijing Spring Magazine Chief Editor, famous writer and political analyst;
Mr. Chen Pokong, Writer, former June 4th 1989 democratic movement leader at Guangzhou

Background: Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for calling for political reform in China through a manifesto called Charter 08. He has already been in detention in China for a year, and his 2-hour trial ended on Christmas Day with a guilty verdict.

“We continue to call on the government of China to release him immediately,” US embassy official Gregory May told reporters outside the courthouse following sentencing. “Persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of political views is inconsistent with internationally recognized norms of human rights.”

In 2008, while human rights supporters throughout the world prepared to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights, Liu Xiaobo, one of China's most prominent human rights activists was arrested in his home in Beijing. His crime was drafting a document, Charter 08, which calls for political reform in China . His telephone and internet lines were cut, and his personal papers, books and computers were seized.

Charter 08 reiterates many of the rights as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It calls for democratic reform in China and it calls for change in 19 areas, including a new constitution, an independent judiciary, freedom of assembly, election of public officials and stronger guarantees for personal freedoms. It expresses a sense of urgency for the future and destiny of China . The document has more than 8,000 signatories including intellectuals and human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, dissidents, artists and rural leaders in China .

Charter 08 was based on Charter 77, a human rights manifesto which challenged Soviet rule and was originally signed by about two hundred writers and intellectuals in Czechoslovakia in 1977. One of the signers of Charter 77 was playwright Vaclav Havel who later became the first President of democratic Czechoslovakia after the 1989 "velvet revolution". Charter 77 serves as an example of how Czechoslovakian dissidents who signed the Charter 77 petition changed history when they stand up for what they believe.

No comments: