Nobel laureate’s wife asks friends to collect prize

2010-10-26 08:00

The wife of jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo had issued an open letter inviting his friends to go to Norway in December to receive the award on his behalf, an activist said today.

Liu, who is serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges after co-authoring Charter 08, a manifesto for political reform in China, was awarded the Nobel peace prize on October 8. Beijing was enraged by the news.

The letter, which is circulating online, calls on 100 Chinese dissidents, lawyers and professors to collect the prize on his behalf in Oslo on December 10.

“Judging by the current situation, the possibility of Xiaobo and I going to collect the prize is minute, but I believe that Xiaobo would definitely want his friends to attend this historical ceremony,” writes Liu’s wife, Liu Xia.

“So while I can still send information out, I would like to openly invite Xiaobo’s friends to attend the peace prize ceremony taking place in Oslo on December 10,” said the letter, published on an overseas pro-democracy website.

AFP was unable to independently verify that Liu Xia had written the letter herself, as she has been under house arrest since the prize announcement and is unreachable.

Yang Jianli, a dissident living in the United States, said she had entrusted him with coordinating any friends or supporters who wanted to go to Oslo in the week after the announcement.

The list of invitees includes Bao Tong, a former top aide to Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party head who was purged for opposing the use of force to end the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests.

It also names Shang Baojun, the lawyer who defended Liu in his trial last December; prominent Tibetan blogger Woeser; Cui Weiping, a professor at the Beijing Film Academy; and Zhang Zuhua, who drafted Charter 08 with Liu.

Li Fangping, a prominent rights lawyer also on Liu’s list, said that he had read the letter, but would not go to Oslo.

Yang, who confirmed he would go to Oslo, said a number of people had told him they too wanted to go to Norway, but added he could not give out any names.

Many of those on the list have themselves been followed or detained by authorities since the prize was announced.

Rights activist Feng Zhenghu was taken away by police yesterday and has been out of touch since then, according to the Chinese Human Rights Defenders activist network.

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