Dear Mr. Marcus Storch,
Recently, in order to prevent the ”jasmine revolution” in the Middle East and north Africa from spreading in China, Chinese authorities have arrested many dissidents without cause. According to international human rights organizations, more than two hundred dissidents have disappeared. In addition:
Ø Foreign journalists have been driven away from public places and some were beaten by police.
Ø The artist Ai Weiwei was arrested by police at Beijing Airport when he was about to leave for Hong Kong, and his assistants have also disappeared.
Ø The Chinese government still refuses to give any information about the lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who disappeared last April.
Ø The human rights activist and EU’s Sakharov Prize winner Hu Jia has been refused medical parole although his health has obviously deteriorated.
Ø The human rights activist Liu Xianbin was recently sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for his criticism of corruption in China, at the age of 42, although he has already served two terms of imprisonment for 15 years together since the 1989 student demonstration.
Ø Dissidents who have been released after serving full terms of imprisonment, such as Chen Guangcheng and Hada, continue to suffer from police persecution.
Ø Many dissidents are still serving long term imprisonment, including Dr. Wang Bingzhang, the poet Shi Tao, the writer Yang Tianshui, Professor Zheng Yichun and Professor Guo Quan, and their conditions are very alarming.
Ø The poet Li Hong suffered so seriously in prison that he died on 31 December 2010, at the age of only 52.
These cases are only a few among many but enough to show the human rights situation in China today. This situation ought to be condemned by the international community.
Because of this situation, it is very difficult for us, the signatories to this letter, to accept that the statement which praises the “macro level progress” on human rights in China, claims that “human rights have already become one of the fundamental principles of China’s rule of law”, maintains that there is ”an ever‑growing tolerance for social pluralism on the part of the regime and substantial decrease in the force of persecution of political dissidents”, and describes China’s prison system as now under “humane management”, is still on the official website of the Nobel Prize(http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2010/xiaobo-lecture.html). This statement, titled “I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement”, is by Mr. Liu Xiaobo, the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
Although Mr. Liu praised the progress of human rights and rule of law in China and tried to show a reconciliatory attitude to Communist Party rule, he was still sentenced to 11 years imprisonment. Ironically, the sentence itself has become evidence against his own statement on the progress of human rights in China.
This statement was written for Mr Liu’s trial on 23 December 2009. In fact Mr. Liu was not allowed to read it as whole at the trial but only explained the content for a few minutes. Political trials are not open to the public and closed to foreign journalist and diplomats. Statements made at political trials are regarded as national secrets. For example, Mr. Liu Qing, previous chairman of Human Rights in China, was sentenced to many years imprisonment when he circulated Mr. Wei Jingsheng (later Swedish Olof Palme prize winner)’s court statement which was secretly taken out by an official photographer Mr. Qu Leilei (now in England). Many political prisoners cannot even get a single word made public.
This fact that political trials are not open to the public makes Mr. Liu’s own statement invalid when he said “my most dramatic experiences after June Fourth have been, surprisingly, associated with courts: My two opportunities to address the public have both been provided by trial”. He could not address the public in China at all by trial. His wrong information misled a Swedish journalist to write that Mr. Liu’s statement was “the only opportunities after June Fourth 1989 that he could directly address to Chinese people, thanks to the trial” (SvD 2010-12-11). In fact, Mr. Liu’s statement is forbidden in China even today. On the contrary, Mr. Liu forgot to count that he did have one opportunity to address the public in China, and it was his only one after June Fourth and had nothing to do with court trial. That was in the autumn of 1989, Mr. Liu was interviewed on Chinese government’s CCTV to testify that no student was killed at the Tian-An-Men Square in Beijing on June Fourth and criticized student leaders for lying. It was an interview that dissidents in China strongly criticized and Mr. Liu himself regretted later and would like to forget, understandably.
Mr. Liu’s statement was first made public abroad in January 2010 and after that it gave immediately rise to debates among Chinese dissidents both inside China and abroad since it appeared to ignore the facts about the human rights situation in China. Mr. Liu’s declaration that he had no enemies has also provoked criticism since fight for democracy, freedom and human rights has nothing to do with whether a person has enemy or not . When it was known that Mr. Liu had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2010, a number of dissidents wrote a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize committee suggesting caution in making this decision. Among the questions raised is that if there has in fact been such progress in human rights in China, should not the prize have been awarded to the Chinese Communist Party.
It is to us a matter of great regret that the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize committee awarded the prize to Mr. Liu. It is even more regrettable that his statement “I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement” was presented at the award ceremony on 10 December 2010 in Oslo. Mr. Liu’s statement ignored the fact that hundreds of Chinese dissidents still sit in prison, and some are being tortured to death. His statement praised conditions within the prison and praised the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. It named several “kind-hearted” Chinese jailers and court prosecutors but no imprisoned dissidents. In contrast, the statement sent by Sakharov at his award ceremony in 1975 named dozen of imprisoned dissidents and appealed for their freedom as well as condemning the dictatorship in the Soviet Union.
It is difficult to believe that the millions of Chinese who have died under Communist Party rule and the political prisoners who still suffer in Chinese prisons and their families will ever accept Mr. Liu’s statement on Nobel peace prize website, neither will those now arrested dissidents and artists, disappeared lawyers and human rights defenders, and the tortured political prisoners accept that. A statement which has wrong information and contrary to facts will also harm the Nobel prize website’s reputation.
We therefore respectfully suggest that the Nobel Foundation withdraw Mr. Liu’s statement from your official website.
Signatories (Names in alphabetical order):
Bian Hexiang (Anti-CCP activist in exile in U.S.)
Chen Maiping (Chinese writer in exile in Sweden, Swedish PEN board member)
Huan Xuewen (Chinese writer in exile in Germany)
Huang Heqing (Chinese writer in exile in Spain)
Diane Liu (Chinese writer in exile in U.S.)
Lu Decheng (Chinese writer in exile in Canada. Imprisoned for 16 years)
Wang shenglin (Chinese dissident in exile in U.S.)
Xu Yi (Chinese dissident in exile in England)
Yang zi (Chinese dissident in exile in U.S.)
Zhang Guoting (Chinese internet writer and anti-CCP activist in exile in Denmark. Imprisoned already in 1960 at age 16 for reactionary crimes and altogether for 22 years)
Zhang Liangsheng (Independent commentator in Hong Kong)
Zhong Weiguang (Chinese scholar in exile in Germany, Radio Free Asia correspondent)
Cell phone: + 46 73 6577477
Home telephone: + 46 8 50024819
Yi Xu, Ph.D.
Reader in Speech Science
Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
University College London
2 Wakefield Street
London WC1N 1PF
Cell: +44 07910 455 428.
Tel: 020 7679 4082 (internal 24082)
Fax: 020 7679 4238
致诺贝尔基金会董事会主席马尔克斯 · 斯多克的公开信
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