OUR CHINESE PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE
Writer, academic and political activist Dr Liu Xiaobo was taken from his home by police on 8 December 2008, just two days before the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the date he and a group of activists intended to launch a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08. He was accused of posting articles critical of the government on international websites and authoring Charter 08, which calls for greater freedom of expression, political reform and respect for human rights. The Court considered the manifesto “slanderous” and an attempt to incite the subversion of the current regime.
Liu Xiaobo admitted he wrote the articles listed in the indictment but insisted he was simply exercising his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in China’s constitution. In December 2009, following his formal arrest on suspicion of "inciting subversion", he was then sentenced to 11 years in prison and a further 2 year deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power” after a 2 hour trial. Since his trial he has been held in Jinzhou Prison, in Liaoning province, north-east China, where he shares a cell with five other inmates. Unlike the majority of Chinese prisoners, he is not forced to work and is allowed to read and study.
His wife, Liu Xia, a poet and artist, has been held under illegal house arrest in Beijing since October 2010. Security officers stand guard outside her home, and she is not allowed visitors.
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