Liu Xiaobo

  • Liu Xiaobo was an outspoken critic of the Chinese government. A former professor of literature at Beijing Normal University, he wrote about Chinese society and culture with a focus on democracy and human rights. He was jailed for 21 months after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre for his role in supporting students who had taken part in the peaceful protests. He was imprisoned again in a Re-education through Labor camp from 1996 to 1999 for criticizing China's policies toward Taiwan and Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Liu was sentenced in 2009 to 11 years in prison on “inciting subversion” charges for his involvement with Charter ’08, a manifesto calling for political reforms in China. Liu served nearly eight years in a Liaoning prison until being transferred to a hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in June 2017. He died on July 13 from complications of liver cancer.

    In 2010, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Human Rights Watch honored him with the 2010 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism for his fearless commitment to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in China.

    Essential Reading
    >> Q and A on Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo
    >> Human Rights Watch Honors Six Activists
    >> G20: Press China to Free Nobel Laureate
    >> Scholars, Writers Press for Liu Xiaobo’s Release
    >> Liu Xiaobo’s Trial a Travesty of Justice

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Unjustly Jailed

Unjustly Jailed

#FreeThem campaign: Pressuring governments to release the unjustly jailed

Many courageous individuals – be they journalists, lawyers, activists, artists, members of the political oppositions or protesters – sit behind bars for daring to speak the truth, to challenge dictators, to unveil corruption, to stand up for the marginalized, or to demand justice, freedom and rights. They are often beaten, tortured, humiliated, threatened, and – what is worse – forgotten.

Human Rights Watch has highlighted the cases of some of these brave individuals who have paid a high price, unjustly jailed for the peaceful exercise of their fundamental rights. We have sought popular support to draw attention to their cases and demand that world leaders and others with leverage do all they can to immediately #FreeThem.