Liu Xiaobo was the first Chinese intellectual to be jailed over Tibet

Tibet Post International
Yangchen Dolma
July 25 2017 17:09

Dharamshala — President Dr Lonsang Sangay said that the Chinese Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, was perhaps the first Chinese intellectual to be sentenced over his comments urging Chinese government to respect people of Tibet.

The Central Tibetan Administration led by the President held a prayer gathering at the main temple in Dharamshala, for deceased Chinese Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, a prominent democracy activist and staunch supporter of Tibetan aspirations.

Addressing the prayer ceremony, President Dr Sangay said he mourned the loss of one of the greatest champions for democracy, protection of human rights and freedom in China. “Liu Xiaobo was the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize while living in China. Above all, he was among the first Chinese intellectuals to openly support genuine autonomy for Tibet.

“Liu Xiaobo is one rare Chinese intellectual who said His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the soul of Tibet and the best way for the Chinese government to show respect to Tibetans is to enable the soul of the snow-land to return to Tibet,” the president said.

“He was perhaps the first Chinese intellectual to be sentenced for speaking up for Tibet. In 1996 he was sentenced to three years in a labour camp for writing a joint letter, to China’s former President Jiang Zemin, supporting Tibetan self-determination and dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In March 2008, in the aftermath of the Tibetan uprising, he co-authored and signed the ‘Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibetan Situation”.

“His co-authoring of Charter 08, a manifesto advocating reform, freedom and democracy in China, is an act of unparalleled courage and sacrifice,” Dr Sangay said, remembering China’s most prominent dissident, according to the CTA’s official website.

“The Tibetan movement has lost a dear friend. But it is my belief that Liu Xiaobo’s ideas and unremitting efforts would continue to inspire, long after his death.”

“For us, Liu’s dream for a democratic China is still alive; his vision for a truly democratic China will be fulfilled,” the President concluded.

According to the CTA’s official website (www.tibet.net), the prayer gathering joined by hundreds of Tibetans in Dharamshala, in expression of respect and gratitude to their Chinese friend.

Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. This is really an incredible statement by the Nobel Committee and a great push for democracy and human rights in China. Liu was one of China’s most prominent democracy and rights advocates, was serving an 11-year prison term for calling for democracy, rights and a multi-party system in Charter 08.

Charter 08 was initially signed by a small group of intellectuals and dissidents, though quickly signed by more than 2,000 citizens shortly after publication. It was intended to be a road map for how political change could safely occur in China.

Liu also stands out because of his strong support for Tibet and the Tibetan Government in Exile’s position of meaningful autonomy. In 2000, he authored an essay titled “The Right of Self-government,” which supported the Dalai Lama’s push for Tibetan autonomy (Chinese version, English translation).

Liu has also put forward a specific plan for improving the situation in Tibet, authored with Wang Lixiong, “Twelve Suggestions on Dealing with the Tibetan Situation.” It was written just after the start of the March 2008 national uprising in Tibet, at a time when tensions were high and a massive crackdown against Tibetans was beginning.

Following a year in detention and a two-hour trial, he was sentenced to 11 years in December 2009 for inciting subversion of state power. On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. He died on 13 July, becoming the second Nobel laureate to perish in custody (Carl von Ossietzky, an anti-Nazi pacifist, died in 1938).