Skip to main content


International Committee for Liu Xiaobo


134 Nobel Laureates Urge Incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping to

Release Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo and Wife Liu Xia


Citizens Petition to Chinese Government Launched at Change.Org by Archbishop Tutu


(New York) Today, 134 Nobel Laureates across all six Nobel disciplines wrote to incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping, 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.[1] 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.



December 4, 2012

The Honorable Xi Jinping

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China

Zhongnanhai, Xichengqu, Beijing City

People’s Republic of China


Dear Mr. Xi,

As you have taken the first step towards assuming the presidency of the People’s Republic of China, we write to welcome the prospect of fresh leadership and new ideas. To that end, we respectfully urge you to release Dr. Liu Xiaobo, the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and his wife, Liu Xia.

On December 25, 2009, your government sentenced Dr. Liu, a highly respected intellectual and democracy advocate, to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion.” The charges were based on his political essays and co-authorship of “Charter 08,” which called for peaceful political reform in China based on the principles of human rights, freedom, and democracy. Shortly after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Dr. Liu its Peace Prize, the government placed Liu Xia under house arrest, where she remains cut off from the outside world two years later without charge or the benefit of any legal process. In response to the continued detentions of Dr. Liu and Liu Xia, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, an independent and impartial body of experts, issued Opinions No. 15-16/2011, finding their detentions to be in violation of international law; however, despite this finding their cases remain unresolved.

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. Indeed, we Laureates are distressed that your government continues to block access to the main Nobel Prize web site (

During former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States in 2011, he recognized that “a lot still needs to be done in China on human rights.” While we welcome such honest assessments, we hope that China’s new political leadership will move past merely recognizing the problem and seize this important opportunity to take concrete steps towards embracing the fundamental rights of all Chinese citizens. An essential first step is the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.


134 Nobel Prize Laureates

Name, Category, Prize Year:

Peter Agre, Chemistry, 2003

Thomas R. Cech, Chemistry, 1989

Martin Chalfie, Chemistry, 2008

Aaron Ciechanover, Chemistry, 2004

Paul J. Crutzen, Chemistry, 1995

Robert F. Curl Jr., Chemistry, 1996

Johann Deisenhofer, Chemistry, 1988

Richard R. Ernst, Chemistry, 1991

Gerhard Ertl , Chemistry, 2007

Walter Gilbert, Chemistry, 1980

Robert H. Grubbs, Chemistry, 2005

Dudley R. Herschbach , Chemistry, 1986

Avram Hershko , Chemistry, 2004

Roald Hoffmann, Chemistry, 1981

Robert Huber, Chemistry, 1988

Roger D. Kornberg, Chemistry, 2006

Sir Harold Kroto, Chemistry, 1996

Yuan T. Lee, Chemistry, 1986

Mario J. Molina, Chemistry, 1995

Kary B. Mullis, Chemistry, 1993

John C. Polanyi, Chemistry, 1986

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Chemistry, 2009

Richard R. Schrock, Chemistry, 2005

Jens C. Skou, Chemistry, 1997

Thomas A. Steitz, Chemistry, 2009

Roger Y. Tsien, Chemistry, 2008

Sir John E. Walker, Chemistry, 1997

Kurt Wuthrich, Chemistry, 2002

Ada E. Yonath, Chemistry, 2009

Kenneth J. Arrow, Economics, 1972

Peter A. Diamond, Economics, 2010

Daniel Kahneman, Economics, 2002

Finn E. Kydland, Economics, 2004

Robert E. Lucas Jr., Economics, 1995

Harry M. Markowitz, Economics, 1990

Eric S. Maskin, Economics, 2007

Daniel L. McFadden, Economics, 2000

James A. Mirrlees, Economics, 1996

Dale T. Mortensen, Economics, 2010

Roger B. Myerson, Economics, 2007

Douglass C. North, Economics, 1993

Thomas J. Sargent, Economics, 2011

Thomas C. Schelling, Economics, 2005

Vernon L. Smith, Economics, 2002

Oliver E. Williamson, Economics, 2009

J. M. Coetzee, Literature, 2003

Gunter Grass, Literature, 1999

Elfriede Jelinek, Literature, 2004

Toni Morrison, Literature, 1993

Herta Muller, Literature, 2009

Tomas Transtromer, Literature, 2011

Mario Vargas Llosa, Literature, 2010

David Baltimore, Medicine, 1975

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, Medicine, 2008

J. Michael Bishop, Medicine, 1989

Gunter Blobel, Medicine, 1999

Sydney Brenner, Medicine, 2002

Linda B. Buck, Medicine, 2004

Sir Martin J. Evans, Medicine, 2007

Andrew Z. Fire, Medicine, 2006

Edmond H. Fischer, Medicine, 1992

Alfred G. Gilman, Medicine, 1994

Paul Greengard, Medicine, 2000

Carol W. Greider, Medicine, 2009

Roger Guillemin, Medicine, 1977

Sir John B. Gurdon, Medicine, 2012

Leland H. Hartwell, Medicine, 2001

Harald zur Hausen, Medicine, 2008

H. Robert Horvitz, Medicine, 2002

David H. Hubel, Medicine, 1981

Tim Hunt, Medicine, 2001

Louis J. Ignarro, Medicine, 1998

Eric R. Kandel, Medicine, 2000

Rita Levi-Montalcini, Medicine, 1986

Craig C. Mello, Medicine, 2006

Joseph E. Murray, Medicine, 1990

Erwin Neher, Medicine, 1991

Sir Paul Nurse, Medicine, 2001

Christiane Nusslein-Volhard, Medicine, 1995

Stanley B. Prusiner, Medicine, 1997

Sir Richard J. Roberts, Medicine, 1993

Hamilton O. Smith, Medicine, 1978

John E. Sulston, Medicine, 2002

Jack W. Szostak, Medicine, 2009

E. Donnall Thomas, Medicine, 1990

J. Robin Warren, Medicine, 2005

Eric F. Wieschaus, Medicine, 1995

Torsten N. Wiesel, Medicine, 1981

Amnesty International, Peace, 1977

Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Peace, 1996

Mairead Maguire, Peace, 1976

Shirin Ebadi, Peace, 2003

Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Peace, 2011

Tawakkul Karman, Peace, 2011

The 14th Dalai Lama, Peace, 1989

Jose Ramos-Horta, Peace, 1996

Desmond Tutu, Peace, 1984

Elie Wiesel, Peace, 1986

Betty Williams, Peace, 1976

Jody Williams, Peace, 1997

Zhores I. Alferov, Physics, 2000

Leon N. Cooper, Physics, 1972

James Cronin, Physics, 1980

Jerome I. Friedman, Physics, 1990

Andre Geim, Physics, 2010

Riccardo Giacconi, Physics, 2002

Donald A. Glaser, Physics, 1960

Sheldon Glashow, Physics, 1979

Roy J. Glauber, Physics, 2005

David J. Gross, Physics, 2004

John L. Hall, Physics, 2005

Serge Haroche, Physics, 2012

Antony Hewish, Physics, 1974

Gerardus 't Hooft, Physics, 1999

Brian D. Josephson, Physics, 1973

Charles K. Kao, Physics, 2009

Wolfgang Ketterle, Physics, 2001

Klaus von Klitzing, Physics, 1985

Leon M. Lederman, Physics, 1988

Anthony J. Leggett, Physics, 2003

John C. Mather, Physics, 2006

Douglas D. Osheroff, Physics, 1996

William D. Phillips, Physics, 1997

H. David Politzer, Physics, 2004

Robert C. Richardson, Physics, 1996

Adam G. Riess, Physics, 2011

Heinrich Rohrer, Physics, 1986

Brian P. Schmidt, Physics, 2011

Jack Steinberger, Physics, 1988

Joseph H. Taylor Jr., Physics, 1993

Charles H. Townes, Physics, 1964

Steven Weinberg, Physics, 1979

Frank Wilczek, Physics, 2004

Robert Woodrow Wilson, Physics, 1978

[1]The International Committee for Liu Xiaobo is composed of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Ms. Tawakkol Karman, Ms. Mairead Maguire, Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, Ms. Betty Williams, and Ms. Jody Williams as well as the following non-governmental organizations: Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), Act for Human Rights (ADH), Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (CCFD- Terre Solidaire), China Solidarity, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Initiatives for China/Citizen Power for China, International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Freedom Now, Human Rights Foundation (HRF), Human Rights League (LDH), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Global Justice Center (GJC), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM). Until his passing, former Czech Republic President Václav Havel served on the Committee as well.


Your tax deductible gift can help stop human rights violations and save lives around the world.

Region / Country

Most Viewed