Liu Xiaobo: The man China couldn’t erase

By BBCNEWS

Activist Liu Xiaobo has died after spending eight years in prison.

“There is nothing criminal in anything I have done but I have no complaints.”

So stated Liu Xiaobo in court in 2009, and in the eight long prison years between then and now, he refused to recant his commitment to democracy. No wonder China’s leaders are as afraid of him in death as they were in life.

Many Weibo users have shared screenshots of this tribute by Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper

The Chinese Communist Party was once a party of conviction, with martyrs prepared to die for their cause, but it’s had nearly 70 years in power to become an ossified and cynical establishment. It imprisons those who demand their constitutional rights, bans all mention of them at home and uses its economic might abroad to exact silence from foreign governments. Under President Xi, China has pursued this repression with great vigour and success. Liu Xiaobo is a rare defeat.

Beijing’s problem began in 2010 when he won a Nobel Peace Prize. That immediately catapulted Liu Xiaobo into an international A-list of those imprisoned for their beliefs, alongside Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and Carl von Ossietzky.

The last in that list may be unfamiliar to some, but to Beijing he’s a particularly uncomfortable parallel. Carl von Ossietzky was a German pacifist who won the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize while incarcerated in a concentration camp. Hitler would not allow a member of the laureate’s family to collect the award on his behalf.

Liu Xiaobo was also serving a prison sentence for subversion when he won the peace prize. Beijing would not let his wife collect the award and instead placed her under house arrest. Liu Xiaobo was represented at the 2010 award ceremony in Oslo by an empty chair and the comparisons began between 21st Century China and 1930s Germany.

The empty chair with Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize on it

Image copyright AFP
Image caption While in jail, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. An empty chair was left for him at the ceremony

Strict censorship is another shared feature of both cases. Mention of Carl von Ossietzky’s 1935 Nobel peace prize was banned in Nazi Germany and the same is true of Liu Xiaobo’s award in China today. For a time China even banned the search term “empty chair”. So he has been an embarrassment to China internationally, but at home few Chinese are aware of him. Even as foreign doctors contradicted the Chinese hospital on his fitness to travel, and Hong Kong saw vigils demanding his release, blanket censorship in mainland China kept the public largely ignorant of the dying Nobel laureate in their midst.

Selective amnesia is state policy in China and from Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment until his death, the government worked hard to erase his memory. To make it hard for family and friends to visit, he was jailed nearly 400 miles from home. His wife Liu Xia was shrouded in surveillance so suffocating that she gradually fell victim to mental and physical ill health. Beijing punished the Norwegian government to the point where Oslo now shrinks from comment on Chinese human rights or Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel prize.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Liu Xiaobo (left) is seen here with his wife Liu Xia (right) in this undated photo

But in death as in life, Liu Xiaobo has refused to be erased. The video footage of the dying man which China released outside the country was clearly intended to prove to the world that everything was done to give him a comfortable death. The unintended consequence is to make him a martyr for China’s downtrodden democracy movement and to deliver a new parallel with the Nobel Peace Prize of 1930s Germany.

Liu Xiaobo was granted medical parole only in the terminal stage of his illness, and even in hospital he was under close guard with many friends denied access to his bedside. Nearly 80 years ago, Carl von Ossietzky also died in hospital under prison guard after medical treatment came too late to save him.

Comparisons with the human rights record and propaganda efforts of Nazi Germany are particularly dismaying for Beijing after a period in which it feels it has successfully legitimised its one-party state on the world stage. At the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier this month, no world leader publicly challenged President Xi over Liu Xiaobo’s treatment. With China increasingly powerful abroad and punitive at home, there are few voices raised on behalf of its political dissidents.

Liu Xiaobo was not always a dissident. An outspoken academic with a promising career and a passport to travel, until 1989 he’d led a charmed life. The Tiananmen Square democracy movement that year was the fork in his path. After the massacre on June 4th, the costs of defying the Party were tragically clear to all.

Most of his contemporaries, and of the generations which followed, judged those costs too high. They chose life, liberty and a stake in the system.

Liu Xiaobo was one of the few who took the other fork. He stayed true to the ideals of 1989 for the rest of his life, renouncing first his opportunities to leave China, and then, repeatedly, his liberty. Even in recent years, his lawyers said he had turned down the offer of freedom in exchange for a confession of guilt.

‘If you want to enter hell, don’t complain of the dark….’

Liu Xiaobo once wrote. And in the statement from his trial which was read at his Nobel award ceremony alongside his empty chair, Liu Xiaobo said he felt no ill will towards his jailers and hoped to transcend his personal experience.

No wonder such a man seemed dangerous to Beijing. For a jealous ruling party, an outsider with conviction is an affront, and those who cannot be bought or intimidated are mortal enemies.

But for Liu Xiaobo the struggle is over. The image of his empty deathbed will now haunt China like the image of his empty chair. And while Beijing continues to intimidate, persecute and punish those who follow his lead, it will not erase the memory of its Nobel prize winner any more than Nazi Germany erased its shame 81 years ago.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-40585327

中国著名异见人士、诺贝尔和平奖得主刘晓波于2017年7月13日因病去世,终年61岁。

沈阳市司法局在其门户网站上确认了这一消息

刘晓波是中国知名作家,曾任北京师范大学中文系讲师。他是中国著名持不同政见者,曾任独立中文笔会主席,是《零八宪章》的发起者和起草者。

2009年,刘晓波因所谓”煽动颠覆国家政权罪”被判处有期徒刑11年,剥夺政治权利2年。

2010年10月,刘晓波因其多年来”推动中国民主化的努力”而获得诺贝尔和平奖。

主要经历

刘晓波于1955年12月28日生于吉林长春。曾当过知青,建筑工人等。

1977至1982年,他在吉林大学中文系学习,获学士学位,随后进入北京师范大学中文系攻读硕士研究生,获硕士学位,并在该校中文系任教。1986年在北京师范大学中文系读博士学位,多次去北欧和美国讲学。

1980年代中期,刘晓波因对李泽厚的批判而名震文坛,被称为”黑马”。后因参与天安门六四事件、呼吁为六四平反和要求中国当局进行民主宪政改革而多次被捕。他和侯德建、高新和周舵被称为”天安门四君子”。

1989年他在美国哥伦比亚大学作访问学者时,北京发生八九民运,他随即回国参加六四学生运动。

1989年6月6日,刘晓波因所谓”反革命宣传煽动罪”被捕,同年9月被开除公职。1991年1月获释后在北京从事写作以及参与中国民运活动。

1995年5月至1996年1月被监禁在北京郊区。

1996年至1999年被当局以扰乱社会秩序罪判处劳动教养3年。获释后继续在北京从事自由写作。

刘晓波的文章抨击时政,关注民间维权。这使他成为中国当局重点监控的对象,在每年的一些敏感时期,中国当局对刘晓波实施某种程度的软禁,要求不得外出、访友,甚至切断其电话。

2008年,刘晓波发起并起草了《零八宪章》,该宪章在12月10日世界人权日发表。12月8日,刘晓波因涉嫌”煽动颠覆国家政权罪”被刑事拘留,12月9日被监视居住。2009年6月23日被当局以涉嫌”煽动颠覆国家政权罪”正式逮捕。

2009年12月25日,北京第一中级人民法院以”煽动颠覆国家政权罪”判处刘晓波有期徒刑11年,剥夺政治权利2年。一审判决书中指控刘晓波在包括BBC等的境外网站上发表”煽动性”文章。刘晓波对判决提出上诉,但2010年2月11日北京高级法院驳回上诉,维持原判。

2010年5月26日,刘晓波开始在辽宁省盘锦监狱服刑。

刘晓波入狱后,他的妻子刘霞一直生活在软禁状态中。但是中国当局从来没有解释为什么要对刘霞采取这种措施。

获奖与著作

刘晓波曾多次获奖。其中包括,1990年获美国《人权观察》颁发的”海尔曼人权奖”,1996年再次获得”海尔曼人权奖”。

2004 年获得无国界记者和法兰西基金会颁发的2004年度”捍卫言论自由奖”。

2005年获第十届香港人权新闻奖大奖。

2009年获得美国笔会颁发的该年度巴巴拉·戈德史密斯自由写作奖。

他的主要作品包括《选择的批判- 与李泽厚对话》、《审美与人的自由》、《赤身裸体,走向上帝》、《中国当代政治与中国知识分子》、《向良心说谎的民族》、《未来的自由中国在民间》、《单刃毒剑——中国当代民族主义批判》等。

诺贝尔和平奖

2010年10月8日,诺贝尔基金会宣布,刘晓波获得诺贝尔和平奖。他成为首位居住在中国境内的获得诺贝尔奖的中华人民共和国公民。

评选委员会把诺贝尔和平奖授予刘晓波的理由是,表彰其”在中国为基本人权持久而非暴力的奋斗”,”纵然身陷刑罚,刘晓波已经成为了方兴未艾的中国人权奋斗的标志与丰碑。”

刘晓波获奖后, 中国外交部发言人马朝旭表示:”刘晓波是触犯中国法律而被判刑的罪犯,其所作所为和诺贝尔和平奖宗旨背道而驰。”

当年12月10日,狱中的刘晓波未能出席在奥斯陆举行的诺贝尔和平奖颁奖典礼,中国当局也不准他的亲属代为领奖。

诺贝尔和平奖委员会在颁奖台上安排了一把空椅子。

当诺贝尔和平奖委员会主席托尔比约恩·亚格兰宣布,以空椅代表遭监禁的刘晓波、诺贝尔委员会会保留奖状和奖金,等候刘晓波领取时,全场嘉宾,包括挪威国王和王后,起立鼓掌达一分钟之久。

挪威诺贝尔和平奖委员会给刘晓波颁奖,导致中国政府迁怒于挪威政府,中国与挪威两国关系近年来才有所解冻。

狱中罹患绝症

刘晓波被监禁引起国际社会的强烈反响。国际特赦、人权观察、无国界记者和国际笔会等组织不断呼吁中国当局释放刘晓波。

美国国会曾通过决议案呼吁北京当局立即释放刘晓波,德国总理默克尔也对刘晓波的审判结果表示震惊。

在他被监禁八年后,2017年6月26日,辽宁省监狱管理局在其网站上公布,刘晓波已被诊断患有肝癌,辽宁省监狱管理局批准其保外就医。

据悉,现年61岁的刘晓波是今年5月23日被确诊为肝癌晚期。

刘晓波保外就医:中国”妥协”邀德美专家来华会诊

刘晓波因癌症晚期获保外就医的消息被海外媒体纷纷报道,但中国官方媒体只字不提。中国外交部6月26日被问及刘晓波时表示不了解情况。

挪威诺贝尔委员会对刘晓波保外就医发表声明:”委员会对刘晓波出狱感到高兴,但同时极其遗憾的是他病重至此中国当局才同意他离开监狱。”

“他是因为言论自由被判刑,本不应该受此牢狱之灾。”

该委员会还再次重申,对刘晓波前往挪威的邀请仍然有效。

但是,刘晓波于7月13日在医院去世。

这位诺贝尔和平奖得主,永远失去了亲自领奖的机会。

http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-40516593

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