December 22, 2008

President Hu Jintao
People's Republic of China
Zhongnanhai, Xichengqu,
Beijing
People's Republic of China

Dear President Hu Jintao,

We, the undersigned scholars, writers, lawyers and human rights advocates write to share our deep concern with the ongoing arbitrary detention of literary critic and former professor of literature Liu Xiaobo.

Mr. Liu, a prominent and highly-regarded intellectual both in and outside of China, was taken away from his home in Beijing by public security officers on the evening of December 8. During the accompanying search of his apartment, which lasted for several hours, police seized his computers, mobile phones, and most of his personal papers.

No official reason has been given for Mr. Liu's arrest. In violation of China's own laws and regulations, the police have failed to inform either his relatives or his lawyer of his whereabouts or the reasons for his detention.

Because of the fact that Mr. Liu's arrest came half a day before the publication of a public appeal to promote human rights and democracy in China entitled "Charter 08," and because the police detained and questioned several other "Charter 08" signatories at the same time, the presumption is that Mr. Liu has been arrested solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed under China's constitution and international law.

Mr. Liu's activities have always been peaceful and according to law. Although he was twice arbitrarily detained for several years for writing articles criticizing the government, he has never been convicted of any crime. In recent years, Mr. Liu's reputation grew as his essays on current affairs in China and his principled defense of human rights and democracy circulated widely. Mr. Liu has consistently opposed recourse to violence. In his articles, he has lauded the amendments to the constitution that stipulate respect for human rights and property rights. He has written strongly in favor of the development of a free civil society in China.

As President of the People's Republic of China, you have yourself often pledged to strengthen China's legal system, stressing recently that "the rule of law is important for the promotion, realization and safeguarding of a harmonious society." We urge you to honor your commitment to ensure the civil rights of citizens who peacefully express their views on public affairs.

For the international community to take seriously China's oft-stated commitment to respect human rights and the rule of law, and for China's own citizens to trust the judicial system to redress legitimate grievances, it is urgent that China's central leadership ensure that no one be arrested or harassed simply for the peaceful expression of his or her views.

It is equally urgent that judicial authorities throughout China cease to use China's anti-subversion law to prosecute peaceful critics such as Mr. Liu Xiaobo, who should be released immediately without conditions.

Sincerely,

Edoardo Albinati
Writer
Italy

Elisabeth Allès
Director, Centre d'études sur la Chine Moderne et Contemporaine (Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary China)
École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
France

Vincenzo Balzani
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University of Bologna
Italy

Geremie R. Barmé
Federation Fellow, College of Asian & Pacific Studies
Australian National University
Australia

Robbie Barnett
Professor of Tibetan Studies
Columbia University
USA

Richard Baum
Professor of Political Sciences
University of California in Los Angeles
USA

Jean-Philippe Béja
Senior Researcher, CNRS/CERI Paris, CEFC
Hong Kong

Robert Benewick
Emeritus Professor of Politics
University of Sussex
UK

Gregor Benton
Professor of Chinese History and Archeology
Cardiff University
Wales, UK

Bernard Bernier
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Université de Montréal
Canada

Robert Bernstein
Founding Chair, Human Rights Watch
USA

Thomas P. Bernstein
Professor Emeritus, Political Science
Columbia University
USA

Igor Blazevic
Director, One World Human Rights Film Festival
Czech Republic

Board of International Pen
Jiri Grusa, President, International PEN
Eugene Schoulgin, International Secretary, International PEN
Cecilia Balcazar, Board Member
Mike Butscher, Board Member
Takeaki Hori, Board Member
Eric Lax, Board Member
Yang Lian, Board Member
Mohamed Magani, Board Member
Kristin Schnider, Board Member
Karin Clark, Chair International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee
UK

Michel Bonnin
Professor, Centre d'études sur la Chine Moderne et Contemporaine (Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary China)
École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
France

Anna Bravo
Historian
Turin University
Italy

Alessandra Brezzi
Associate Professor
University of Urbino
Italy

Vincent Brossel
Head of Asia-Pacific Desk
Reporters Sans Frontières 

Jean-Pierre Cabestan
Professor and Head, Department of Government and International Studies
Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong

Claude Cadart
Researcher (Retired)
CNRS/CERI Sciences-Po, Paris
France

William A. Callahan
Chair in International Politics
Co-Director, British Inter-University China Centre
University of Manchester
UK

Anita Chan
Visiting Research Fellow, Contemporary China Centre
Australian National University
Australia

Gordon G. Chang
Writer
USA

Kristen Cheney
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Dayton
USA

Joseph Cheng
Professor of Political Sciences, City University
Hong Kong

Cheng Yingxiang
Researcher (Retired)
CNRS/CERI Sciences-Po, Paris
France

Leïla Choukroune
Assistant Professor of Law
HEC Paris School of Management
France

Martin Chung
Lecturer, School of Arts, Letters and Sciences
Macao Inter-University Institute
Macao

Marcello Cini
Physicist
Professor Emeritus
La Sapienza University, Rome
Italy

Jerome A. Cohen
NYU School of Law
USA

Patrizia Dado
Associate Professor of Chinese Modern and Contemporary Literature
Faculty of Oriental Studies
La Sapienza University, Rome
Italy

Gloria Davies
Convenor of Chinese Studies
Monash University
Australia

Michael C. Davis
Professor of Law
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Sara L.M. Davis
Executive director
Asia Catalyst
USA

Bob Dietz
Asia Program Coordinator
Committee to Protect Journalists
USA

Jean-Luc Domenach
Senior Researcher
CERI-Sciences-Po (Institute of Political Sciences), Paris
France

Michael W. Dowdle
Faculty of Law
National University of Singapore
Singapore

June Teufel Dreyer
Professor, Department of Political Science
University of Miami
USA

Ryan Dunch
Associate Professor, History and Classics
University of Alberta
Canada

Umberto Eco
Professor of Semiology
University of Bologna
Italy

Richard Louis Edmonds
Visiting Professor in the Committee on Geographical Studies
Center for East Asian Studies
University of Chicago
USA

Fang Lizhi
Professor of Physics
University of Arizona
USA

Feng Chongyi
Deputy Director, China Research Centre
University of Technology, Sydney
Australia

Ernesto Ferrero
Writer, Director of the International Book Fair of Turin
Italy

Eric Florence
Researcher, Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies
University of Liege
Belgium

Marcello Flores
Professor, Comparative History
University of Siena
Italy

Christine Fréchette
Coordonnatrice
Chaire d'études politiques et économiques américaines (CÉPÉA)
Montréal, Canada

Edward Friedman
Professor, Political Science
University of Wisconsin     
USA

Matilde Callari Galli
Department Chair, Educational Sciences
University of Bologna
Italy

Anna Maria Gentili
Department of Politics, Institutions and History
Alma Mater Studiorum
University of Bologna
Italy

Carlo Ginzburg
Professor
Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa
Italy

Andre Glucksmann
Philosopher
France

Merle Goldman
Professor Emerita
Boston University
USA

Richard J. Goldstone
Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
Learned Hand Visiting Professor of Law
Harvard Law School
USA

Nadine Gordimer
Nobel Laureate in Literature
South Africa

Lars Grahn
Book publisher, retired
Sweden

Andrea Graziosi
Professor, Contemporary History
Federico II University, Naples
Italy

Giles Gunn
Professor and Chair, Global and International Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara
USA

Tyrell Haberkorn
Peace and Conflict Studies Program
Colgate University
USA

Carol Hayman
Professor of Anthropology
Austin Community College
USA

Seamus Heaney
Nobel Laureate in Literature
Ireland

Donald Holzman
Professor Emeritus
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
Paris
France

Marie Holzman
Writer and sinologist
France

Sharon Hom
Executive Director
Human Rights in China
USA

Jean-François Huchet
Director
French Center for Research on Contemporary China
Hong Kong

Bruce Jacobs
Professor Asian Languages
Monash University
Australia

Jean-François Julliard
Secretary General
Reporters Sans Frontières
France

Lucina Kathmann
International Vice-President, International PEN
Novelist and essayist
Mexico

Willem E.C. Van Kemenade
Visiting Senior Fellow
Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael)
The Hague, The Netherlands

Wendy Keys
Filmmaker
USA

Hari Kunzru
Writer
UK

Jeri Laber
Consultant to the Association of American Publishers
USA

Andre Laliberte
Associate Professor, School of Political Studies
University of Ottawa
Canada

Willy Lam
Professor
Akita International University
Japan

Alessandra Lavagnino
Professor of Chinese Language and Culture
University of Milan
Italy

Marc Lazar
Professor
Sciences-Po Paris (Institute of Political Science), Paris
Luiss University, Rome
Italy

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
Vice President International PEN
USA

Steven I. Levine
Associate Director, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center
University of Montana
USA

Xiaorong Li
Senior researcher, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy
University of Maryland
USA

Lin Xiling
Former Rightist
France

Perry Link
Chancellorial Chair for Innovation in Teaching Across Disciplines
University of California, Riverside
USA

Dimon Liu
Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, The Council of Independent Colleges
USA

Stanley Lubman
Lecturer in Residence
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
USA

Richard Madsen
Professor of Sociology
University of California, San Diego
USA

Alessandro Marzo Magno
Writer
Italy

Victor H. Mair
Professor Chinese Language and Literature
University of Pennsylvania
USA

James Mann
Author-in-residence
Johns Hopkins, School of Advanced International  Studies
USA

Barrett L. McCormick
Professor, Political Science Department
Marquette University
USA

Françoise Mengin
Senior Researcher
CERI-Sciences-Po (Institute of Political Sciences), Paris
France

Alice Lyman Miller
Research fellow, Hoover Institution
Stanford University
USA

Andrew Miller
Senior Editor, Alfred A. Knopf
USA

Marina Miranda
Associate Professor
History of contemporary China
La Sapienza University. Rome
Italy

Olivier Mongin
France

Marc-Olivier Padis
Rédacteur en chef de la revue Esprit
France

Ronald N. Montaperto 
Consultant on Asian Affairs
North Carolina
USA

Robin Munro
Research Associate, Law Dept, SOAS
UK

Andrew J. Nathan
Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science
Columbia University
USA

Barry Naughton
Professor
Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
University of California, San Diego
USA

Valerie Niquet
Director, Asia Centre
French Institute of International Relations (IFRI)
France

Giorgio Parisi
Professor of Theoretical Physics
La Sapienza University, Rome
Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)
Italy

Enrico Parlato
Associate Professor
La Tuscia University
Italy

Pia Pera
Writer
Italy

Martyne Perrot
Researcher
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
France

Roberta Pierobon
Attorney
Italy

Eva Pils
Assistant Professor
Hong Kong

Anemone Platz
Associate Professor, Asian Section
Aarhus University
Denmark

Karoline Postel-Vinay
Senior Researcher
CERI-Sciences-PO (Institute of Political Sciences), Paris
France

Benjamin L. Read
Assistant Professor
Politics Department
University of California, Santa Cruz
USA

Maria Rita Masci
Literary translator
Italy

Arthur Rosenbaum
Associate Professor of History
Claremont McKenna College
USA

Kenneth Roth
Executive Director
Human Rights Watch
USA

Elisa Rotino
Lecturer in History and Civilization of Far East
Università L'Orientale, Naples
Italy

Salman Rushdie
Author
USA

Victoria Sanford
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Lehman College and The Graduate Center
City University of New York
USA

Éric Sautedé
Lecturer
School of Management, Leadership and Government
Macao Inter-University Institute
Macao

Patricia Scott Schroeder
President and CEO, Association of American Publishers
USA

Jonathan Schwartz
Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of Asian Studies
State University of New York, New Paltz
USA

James C. Scott
Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology
Yale University
USA

Jacques Seurre
Sinologist
Agence France Presse
France

James Seymour
Honorary Senior Research Fellow
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Tsering Shakya
Canadian Research Chair on Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia
Institute of Asian Research University of British Columbia
Canada

Satoru Shinomiya
Professor of Law
Waseda Law School
Japan

Susan L. Shirk
University of California, San Diego
USA

Joel Simon
Executive Director
Committee to Protect Journalists
USA

Gianni Sofri
Professor
Università di Bologna
Italy

Dorothy J. Solinger
Professor, Political Science
University of California, Irvine
USA

Yongyi Song
Associate Professor/Librarian
California State University
USA

Wole Soyinka
Nobel Laureate in Literature
Nigeria

Elliot Sperling
Indiana University
USA

Leslie E. Sponsel
Professor of Anthropology 
University of Hawaii at Manoa
USA

Christine Stufferin
President, Alex Langer Foundation
Italy

Su Xiaokang
Chinese writer in exile
USA

Frederick C. Teiwes
Emeritus Professor of Chinese Politics
University of Sydney
Australia

Stig Thogersen
Professor of China Studies
Aarhus Universtity
Denmark

Emilie Tran
Visiting Professor
University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong

Steve Tsang
Reader in Politics, Oxford University
UK

Toshiro Ueyanagi
Professor of Law
Waseda Law School
Japan

Jonathan Unger
Professor and Head Contemporary China Centre
Australian National University
Australia

Peter Van Ness
Contemporary China Centre and Department of International Relations Research School of Pacific & Asian Studies
Australian National University
Australia

Sebastian Veg
Researcher
CEFC (French Centre of Research on Contemporary China)
Hong Kong

Sandro Veronesi
Writer
Italy

Wan Yanhai
Director
Beijing Aizhixing Institute
China

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Professor of History
University of California, Irvine
USA

Martin K. Whyte
Department of Sociology
Harvard University
USA

Calla Wiemer
Visiting Scholar
Center for Chinese Studies
University of California, Los Angeles
USA                                        

Leon Wieseltier
Literary editor, The New Republic
USA

Leroy B. Williams
Professor of History and Political Science
Harvard University
USA

Richard A. Wilson
Gladstein Distinguished Chair in Human Rights
Director Human Rights Institute
University of Connecticut
USA

Wendy Wolf
Editorial director, nonfiction
Viking Penguin
USA

Dr. Guoguang Wu
Chair in China and Asia-Pacific Relations Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives
University of Victoria
Canada

Yu Maochun
Professor of East Asia and Military History
United States Naval Academy 
USA

Francesco Zamponi
Researcher CNRS
Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris
France

Sam Zarifi
Director, Asia-Pacific Region
Amnesty International
UK

Kate Zhou
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of Hawaii
USA