134 Nobel Laureates across all six Nobel disciplines wrote to incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, urging him to immediately and unconditionally release Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia. Liu Xia has been under house arrest since shortly after the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced her husband’s selection as the Peace Prize Laureate for 2010.
The letter was released by the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo, which is comprised of six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and 15 nongovernmental organizations.
The Nobel Laureates wrote: Across all disciplines, the distinguishing feature which led to our recognition as Nobel Laureates is that we have embraced the power of our intellectual freedom and creative inspiration to do our part to advance the human condition.
No government can restrict freedom of thought and association without having a negative effect on such important human innovation.
Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu (Peace 1984) and Sir Richard Roberts (Physiology or Medicine 1993) are leading this initiative with the support of Freedom Now, which serves as international counsel to both Liu Xiaobo and his wife.
The letter from Nobel Laureates sends a powerful message to the Chinese government that releasing Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia will send a positive signal about the new leadership’s priorities and that their ongoing detention hinders China’s development and damages its international stature:
“I hope that the Chinese authorities appreciate the diversity of extraordinary achievement represented by the Nobel Laureates who have written to them today,” said Archbishop Tutu. “Our effort is not to embarrass China but rather to implore the government to take a different approach that would help China develop in the best way for all its people,” he noted. “By releasing Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, China can demonstrate its strength and show that it is not fearful of those who seek dialogue about the most effective ways to reform its government,” added Richard Roberts.
In addition to launching this letter today, Archbishop Tutu, on behalf of his fellow Laureates, launched a global citizen petition drive to the incoming Chinese President urging Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia’s immediate release.