TORONTO, May 29, 2018 – Amnesty International Canada, PEN Canada and the Toronto Association for Democracy in China jointly announced today the kickoff of the Liu Xiaobo Memorial project to erect a bronze sculpture of an empty chair to commemorate his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.
Liu Xiaobo was a writer, literary critic, human rights activist, and co-author of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political reform in China. He was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to eleven years’ imprisonment.
Liu Xiaobo was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. At the award ceremony in Oslo, the award was presented to an empty chair. In 2017, Liu became the second Nobel Peace Laureate to die in state custody.
“Liu Xiaobo was a man of fierce intellect, principle, wit and above all humanity,” said Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada. “Thanks to him, millions of people in China and across the world have been inspired to stand up for freedom and justice in the face of oppression.”
“The Chinese government has applied its full authoritarian weight to the task of destroying another voice of conscience,” says Charlie Foran, former president of PEN Canada. “Liu Xiaobo will forever live in our hearts as the champion of freedom of expression.”
Liu Xia, poet, artist, blogger and the widow of Liu Xiaobo, has been held under illegal house arrest without charge since October 2010. PEN America and Amnesty International have called for lifting of all restrictions on Liu Xia.
“Why is the Chinese government so fearful of a woman who has suffered such an immeasurable loss, and whose own weapon is her pen,” said Winnie Ng, Chair of Toronto Association for Democracy in China. “We must do all we can to end her illegal house arrest and surveillance and ensure that she is free.”
The Toronto Association for Democracy in China also announced its activities for the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre this Saturday, June 2, 2018.