Awaiting the announcement of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Reporters Without Borders issued a call Thursday to remember that dissident Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 laureate, will mark his sixth year of imprisonment in December.
Notably absent from the ceremony to grant him the award, Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence at Jinzhou Prison in Dalian, Liaoning Province, east of Beijing.
Liu Xiaobo is one of the founders of “Charter 08,” a daring public call for fundamental political reforms, democracy and human rights in China. The text prompted a charge of “inciting subversion.” Liu Xiaobo’s harsh criticism of the Chinese government in his writings and his online information work led to systematic official harassment, and repeated incarcerations.
“We are keeping Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, in our thoughts,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They embody the courage and determination of cyber-dissidents and human rights defenders in China. We call on past and future Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and above all to the European Union, to apply all necessary pressure on the Beijing government for the liberation of Liu Xiaobo.”
The organization added that Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment should not be considered a fatal blow to the causes he represents. “On the contrary, every day that he spends in prison, as well as every limitation placed on the freedom of Liu Xia and others close to them, should serve as an opportunity to denounce the violations of basic freedoms, especially freedom of information, for which the Chinese government is responsible.”
China is ranked 173rd of 179 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. Presently, 70 netizens and 29 journalists are imprisoned there.