December 12, 2009
Indicts Prominent Dissident China
Mr. Liu was expected to be tried in four to six weeks, the lawyer, Shang Baojun, said Friday.
The authorities disclosed the decision to prosecute Mr. Liu — a step that almost invariably ends in imprisonment — exactly one year and a day after the manifesto, Charter 08, was published. Other Charter 08 signers said in interviews that the government was using Mr. Liu’s case to send a strong message to Chinese intellectuals that it would not tolerate organized, independent efforts to foster democracy.
“The government is trying to tell us to stop trying to push for human rights and democracy in
Mr. Liu’s supporters had hoped that Chinese leaders would be persuaded to release Mr. Liu, who has been detained for more than a year, when President Obama visited
Mr. Xu said: “I think the message to the outside world is, it doesn’t really matter to the government how this case is viewed by the international community. It can do whatever it wants.”
Many activists viewed Charter 08 as the most important pro-democracy effort in
Many of the initial signers were interrogated, but only Mr. Liu was arrested, two days before the manifesto was published. He was confined for more than six months to a windowless room in
Charter 08 signers have tried to show their solidarity by issuing letters of protest over his case. The most recent one, signed by 165 people, states, “If Liu Xiaobo is found ‘guilty’ that means each one of us is guilty, and we have to shoulder the punishment together with Liu Xiaobo.”
Ran Yunfei, a well-known blogger in
Mr. Liu spent two years in prison after the 1989 pro-democracy protests and three years in a labor camp starting in 1996 for challenging single-party rule and advocating negotiations with the Dalai Lama over
Chinese defendants in subversion cases are typically sentenced to three to eight years in prison, he said. They are almost never acquitted.
Mr. Bequelin said Mr. Liu’s fate depended partly on the reaction of the international community to the indictment. “Whatever they have been doing, it has not been enough,” he said.
Zhang Jing and Jonathan Ansfield contributed research.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs