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Writers in Prison (6)

Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌, born 2 October 1968), a veteran pro-democracy and human rights activist from Suining City, Sichuan Province, currently serving his third long-term imprisonment in Chuanzhong Prison, Nanchong City, Sichuan Province.


Liu participated in the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations and continued to write posters and articles after the June 4 massacre. He was arrested in April 1991 in Beijing and sent to Qincheng prison, where he served two and half years for the conviction of “counter revolutionary propaganda and incitement”. After his release in October 1993, Liu continued his pro-democracy and human rights activism.


In March 1998, Liu wrote an open letter to the Ninth National People’s Congress, demanding that the Chinese government improve human rights conditions and sign the UN human rights conventions. In the same year, Liu and his friends founded the Sichuan branch of the China Democracy Party (CDP) and set up the temporary headquarters of China Human Rights Watch. In 1999, Liu was arrested and convicted of “subversion of state power” by the Sichuan Intermediate People’s Court and sentenced to 13 years imprisonment and deprivation of political rights for three years.


After his release from prison in November 2008, Liu became one of the first signatories to Charter 08. In June 2010, Liu was once more criminally detained for “inciting subversion of state power” and was sentenced in March 2011 to ten years in prison and deprivation of political rights for two years. The verdict states that Liu “wrote and published through the Internet articles inciting subversion of the state power and the socialist system”. These articles include:


- China’s Democracy Movement As I Have Experienced in Twenty Years, Part One: The Arrest of Chen Wei

- Street Actions As An Important Form of Democracy Movement

- A Hundred Days after My Release from Prison



Protesting against the organizers of the London Book Fair 2012 who have not featured in their programme any writers imprisoned by the Chinese regime, this blog will be highlighting one such writer every day leading to the book fair. Although this will only show the tip of the iceberg of today’s ‘literary persecution’ under the rule of the CCP, I hope it will make more people realize the necessity of our daily question: Why haven’t British Council, Reed Exhibitions and London Book Fair invited Liu Xiaobo and other writers imprisoned by the CCP?

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