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Crown Princess Victoria’s royal tours → China, 2010

Victoria had previously toured China in 2005, but this was her first visit to the country with her new husband by her side. This visit was particularly controversial. The Nobel Peace Prize, a regular fixture in the Swedish calendar, had been awarded to Liu Xiaobo who was wrongfully imprisoned in China. Despite this, the couple proved to be incredibly popular with the public. Large crowds gathered to watch them tour the Great Wall of China and the Summer Palace. While in the country, the couple launched a forum for healthcare issues at the World Expo and met representatives from Swedish companies. 

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Today on June 4th, we’re thinking of the Tiananmen Square protests and the protests which happened in other parts of China, the protesters who were killed and those who were not, those who to this day demand truth and accountability from the Chinese government for the events surrounding the protests, and those who are still being followed, detained and imprisoned by the Chinese authorities for doing so. 

The poems were written by Liu Xiaobo, writer, professor, human rights activist and winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, to commemorate the protests. The third one was written specifically to mourn the passing of Su Bingxian, activist and mother of one of the protesters killed. Liu Xiaobo has been serving an 11-year sentence since 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power”, and his wife Liu Xia is being held under extralegal house arrest.

These poems and more can be found in ‘June Fourth Elegies’ (Graywolf Press, 2012), translated by Jeffrey Yang.

Poet and artist Liu Xia has been under extralegal house arrest since her husband, jailed writer Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 8, 2010. Kept incommunicado, she was recently let out of her home in Beijing briefly to attend the trial of her brother, who is being tried on trumped-up charges likely meant to intimidate the family. When she arrived at the courthouse, Liu Xia shouted to saw diplomats and reporters, "If they tell you I’m free, tell them I’m not free."

Letters urge Liu Xiaobo release

New Post has been published on http://www.todayheads.com/letters-urge-liu-xiaobo-release/

Letters urge Liu Xiaobo release

6 December 2012 Last updated at 02:46 ET

Liu Xiaobo received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010

Nobel laureates and Chinese activists have called for the release of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo in two separate letters to Xi Jinping.

The 134 Nobel laureates asked the new Communist Party head to release Liu, who has been jailed since 2009.

A group of prominent Chinese activists and writers also signed a letter urging Mr Xi to release Liu from his sentence for inciting subversion.

The move comes as Chinese writer Mo Yan prepares to receive his Nobel Prize.

Activist Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 despite the Chinese government’s fierce opposition.

He was sentenced in 2009 for helping to draft a manifesto – Charter ’08 – calling for political change. He is serving 11 years in jail for inciting the subversion of state power.

His wife, Liu Xia, remains under house arrest.

The letters come four years after the Charter ’08 manifesto and Liu’s subsequent jailing.

China’s Foreign Ministry has praised Nobel prize winner Mo Yan

The Nobel laureates, who include the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, South African Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and US writer Toni Morrison, made public the letter to Mr Xi on Tuesday.

“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,” they wrote.

“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.”

Mr Xi, China’s leader in waiting, was made Communist Party leader during its once-in-a-decade power transition last month.

‘Ending political imprisonment’

The Chinese writers, rights activists and lawyers also sent a letter echoing the laureates’ sentiment, calling Liu’s prison term “a brazen violation of citizens’ basic rights”.

“We believe that the existence of political prisoners does not help China to build its image of a responsible world power,” they said.

“Ending political imprisonment is an important benchmark for China to move toward a civilised political system.”

At least 40 signed the letter when it was released on Tuesday, with the number reaching close to 300 on Thursday.

Among those who signed the letter were legal scholar He Weifang, human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and AIDS activist Hu Jia.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, responded to the letter sent by the Nobel laureates on Wednesday.

“China is a law-abiding country. Liu Xiaobo was lawfully sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment by the judicial organ because he committed an offence against Chinese law,” he said.

“The Chinese government opposes outsiders handling matters in any way that would interfere in its judicial sovereignty and internal matters.”

On the other hand, he congratulated Mo Yan, who he said “loves his country and people”.

Chinese novelist Mo Yan is scheduled to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in Sweden on Monday.

While he has been criticised for not speaking out much on rights issues in China, he has previously called out for Liu Xiaobo to be freed “as soon as possible”.

Brother-in-law of Nobel peace laureate sentenced to 11 years in prison

Liu Hui found guilty of fraud in property dispute and sentenced after cursory hearing

Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 01:00

A court in suburban Beijing sentenced the brother-in-law of Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, to 11 years in prison yesterday. This was a notably harsh punishment for a business dispute, even by tough Chinese standards, and Mr Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, said it was aimed at persecuting the whole family.

The court in Huairou found Liu Hui guilty of fraud in a property dispute and issued the sentence after a cursory hearing, just hours after president Xi Jinping met US president Barack Obama at an informal summit in California.

Mr Liu, who is a manager in a real estate company in the southern city of Shenzhen, was convicted on charges of defrauding a man called Zhang Bing of three million yuan (€370,000) with another colleague, lawyer Mo Shaoping told reporters. He denies the charges and says they are politically motivated.

The 11-year sentence for a business dispute is harsh and tallies with the 11-year sentence the human rights laureate Liu Xiaobo is currently serving after being convicted of subversion.

Family members and their supporters have said the prosecution of Liu Hui is meant as further punishment of the Nobel laureate’s family and is intended to intimidate other political activists.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/asia-pacific/brother-in-law-of-nobel-peace-laureate-sentenced-to-11-years-in-prison-1.1422228

Life term for China scholar chills ethnic dialogue

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A life sentence given to a moderate Chinese scholar on Tuesday shows the ruling Communist Party is cutting off dialogue on ethnic tensions and could backfire by radicalizing minorities, scholars and analysts said.

A court found economics professor Ilham Tohti, an ethnic Uighur Muslim, guilty of separatism and sentenced him to life in prison. It was the most severe penalty in a decade for illegal political speech in China and eclipsed the 11-year jail sentence given Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo on subversion charges.

"Ilham Tohti’s situation gives scholars like me who … work on the issue great concern about our safety and academic freedom," a scholar said after Tuesday’s sentencing, requesting anonymity because of fear of punishment from authorities.
In this Feb. 4, 2013 photo, Ilham Tohti, an outspoken scholar of China’s Uighur minority, gestures as he speaks during an interview at his home in Beijing, China. A Chinese court on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 imposed a harsh life sentence on Ilham Tohti, who championed the country’s Uighur minority, the most severe penalty in a decade for anyone in China convicted of illegal political speech. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Ilham Tohti is seen as a moderate voice with ties to both ethnic Uighurs and the Han Chinese majority. A Communist Party member and professor at Beijing’s Minzu University, he ran the website Uighur Online that highlighted issues affecting the ethnic group.

The sentence of life imprisonment “is a very disturbing message, as the door to dialogue is closed because this scholar promoted dialogue between the Uighurs and the Chinese intellectuals,” said Willy Lam, a political analyst at the City University of Hong Kong. “Beijing’s message is that they do not look to dialogue with the Uighurs but suppression.”

China says it faces grave terror threats, particularly in Xinjiang, the ancestral home of Uighurs. Riots in 2009 in the regional capital of Urumqi killed nearly 200 people, according to the government, and violence over the past year and a half has left more than 300 people dead, nearly half shot by police in a strike-hard campaign by the government to fight what it calls terrorist cells.

Beijing has blamed the unrest on foreign-influenced terrorists seeking a separate state. But many Muslim Uighurs bristle under Beijing’s heavy-handed restrictions on their religious life and resent the influx of the Han majority into their homeland.

For years, Ilham Tohti has been speaking openly about the problems in his home region. “At present in Xinjiang, the exclusion of and discrimination against Uighurs is quite systematic, with the government leading the way,” he said in an interview with Voice of America last year, following a deadly attack involving Uighurs in the heart of Beijing.

Prosecutors said Ilham Tohti was the ringleader of “a criminal gang seeking to split the country” and “caused severe harm to national security and social stability.” His lawyers said the scholar’s remarks — on the Internet, in his classrooms or with foreign media — did not advocate separatism and instead sought to resolve the region’s ethnic tensions.

James Leibold, a scholar of ethnic policies at La Trobe University of Melbourne, said Ilham Tohti “made a positive, moderate, and courageous contribution to the ongoing discussion on China’s ethnic policy” and his life sentence is a “real tragedy.”

"The sentencing will clearly have a chilling effect on other minority scholars, especially those within the Uighur and Tibetan communities, whose voices and opinions are clearly crucial to fixing some of the problems with China’s ethnic policies and creating an environment more conducive to interethnic harmony," Leibold said.

The verdict drew international condemnation.

The European Union called the life sentence “completely unjustified,” and Amnesty International said the decision was “shameful” and “an affront to justice.”

Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, has defended the Communist Party’s ethnic policies, calling them earlier this year “the best in the world.”

"Some people are always pointing their fingers at China’s ethnic policy. They must have ulterior motives," he said.

When Ilham Tohti was arrested in January along with seven of his students, the Global Times newspaper, published by the Communist Party, suggested in an editorial why he was targeted. To isolate terrorist forces, it said, China must not only “strike against front-line terrorists” but also “clean up the opinion front that supports terrorism.”

Elliot Sperling, professor of central Eurasian studies at Indiana University, said Ilham Tohti became a scapegoat for the Communist Party’s failed policies in Xinjiang because the party is ideologically incapable of asking itself what is wrong with its approach.

"One might say this inability is inscribed in the party’s DNA. So the question becomes not ‘What are we doing wrong?’ but ‘Who is doing this to us?’"

Yet, Beijing is making some adjustments. For the first time in four years, it held a high-level conference to discuss the situation in Xinjiang in May. The leadership reaffirmed counterterrorism as its top priority but also promised to improve the life of Uighurs, including providing 12 years of free education to all young people in southern Xinjiang, where most Uighurs live, and guaranteeing employment for at least one member of each household. Only nine years of free education are provided in most areas of China.

But heavy-handedness such as Tuesday’s sentencing can exacerbate tensions, said Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the rights group World Uyghurs Congress.

"The tragedy of Ilham is that it shows it is impossible to solve issues through peaceful methods," he said in a statement. "I am worried that more people would opt for other means of resistance and cause further chaos when they cannot affect changes and live with dignity through constructive suggestions."

Source:- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-2766092/Lawyer-Uighur-scholar-China-gets-life-sentence.html

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