A Legend Has Fallen

Writers Worldwide mourn the death of a fellow writer and a literary activist, Liu Xiaobo

Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, Pen America,  in her letter written on 13th July 2017 said,

“It is with a heavy heart that I write to share the news that Chinese writer and activistLiu Xiaobo Liu Xiaobo passed away today. His death from a virulent cancer contracted while in prison will forever be a black mark marring China’s reputation under international law and global human rights standards.

As President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, Liu Xiaobo was a friend and compatriot for writers all over the world who struggle against tyranny using words as their sole weapon. After his arrest in December 2008, PEN America honored Liu with the 2009 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, kicking off an international campaign for his freedom that culminated in his receipt—in absentia—of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Liu Xiaobo’s purported crime was no crime at all, but rather a visionary exposition on the potential future of a country he loved. For the act of penning seven sentences, China punished Liu Xiaobo with 11 years in prison, limiting his access to state-of-the-art medical care that might have prevented his illness or improved his prognosis. China’s refusal to honor Liu Xiaobo’s last wish to travel overseas for treatment and its decision to hold him incommunicado during his dying days are a cruel epitaph in the tale of a powerful regime’s determination to crush a brave man who dared challenge a government that sustains its rule through suppression and fear. Liu Xiaobo was not afraid. His courage in life and in death is an inspiration to those who stand for freedom in China and everywhere.

Our thoughts are with Liu Xiaobo’s family and friends, especially his beloved wife, the poet Liu Xia, who has been kept under house arrest, harassed, and hounded for years without charge. The only thing the Chinese government can do now to expiate its complicity in the death of Liu Xiaobo is to grant his wife, Liu Xia, the freedoms in life that her husband gained only in death.”

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