FREE LIU XIAOBO: Worldwide Reading in Tamera

20th March 2011

In Tamera, like on many other places worldwide, readings of texts by the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo took place today, an initiative of the "internationales literaturfestival berlin". Liu Xiaobo is an author and one of China's leading dissidents. In 1989 he belonged to the circle of intellectuals and artists who awakened the hope for a free China at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing. He has served several year-long jail terms ever since and is currently sentenced for eleven years as he co-authored "Charter 08", an appeal for human rights.

 

There he writes: “Chinese citizens are becoming increasingly aware that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values shared by all humankind (...). A “modernization” bereft of these universal values and this basic political framework is a disastrous process that deprives people of their rights, rots away their humanity, and destroys their dignity." In worldwide readings intellectuals, artists and peace workers joined in solidarity for the liberation of Liu Xiaobo. In Tamera, a group of young people gathered coworkers and students, reading Liu's poem and discussing what a revolutionary way of life looks like that is an effective answer to the world's situation.

On 20th March we also commemorate already eight years of war in Iraq and the unimaginable cruelty the West has objected against the Iraqi civil population in this period. We also show our solidarity with people like Bradley Manning, the 23 year-old soldier who risks his life right now for conveying documents that reveal war crimes and systematic torture in Iraq to the public, and we think of the millions of youth in the entire Arab world who are rising up for a future in freedom today.
Tamera is creating a worldwide network and is building a nonviolent life-model in order to make a convincing future-perspective available to all the liberation movements that are stepping up against the old systems of dictatorship and violence around the globe. The peoples of the Earth will win, once they have found a common perspective. We must cooperate.

- Martin Winiecki, Institute for Global Peace Work

Freedom for Liu Xiaobo

20th of March: Public Reading of the Poem "You wait for me with Dust"

The Tamera Community takes part in the public reading as an action of protest and solidarity for Liu Xiaobo. The internationales literaturfestival berlin appeals for a signing of this letter and a worldwide reading on 20th March 2011 of the co-authored ‘Charter 08’

and the poem ‘You wait for me with Dust’ by Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize

laureate for 2010.

 

Liu Xiaobo is currently the world’s only winner of the Nobel Peace Prize still held in

detention. In 2009, after co-authoring ‘Charter 08’, a manifesto calling for greater

freedoms and democracy in China, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to eleven years in

prison on a spurious charge of “inciting subversion of state power”. His continued

imprisonment is a basic breach of human rights, and also a violation of China’s own

constitution where Article 35 states that “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China

enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and

of demonstration”.

 

1936 was the last time neither the winner, German journalist and pacifist Carl von

Ossietzky, nor any of his family members, could go to Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace

Prize. They were all barred from leaving Nazi Germany. This historical comparison

should disturb the Chinese government.

 

China has made extraordinary economic progress over the last few decades. The

country is now the world’s second largest economy, and a powerful player on the

global stage. China is rightly proud of these achievements, but it should also value

democracy.

 

The preamble to ‘Charter 08’ states that “Chinese citizens are becoming increasingly

aware that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values shared by all

humankind, and that democracy, republicanism, and constitutional government

make up the basic institutional framework of modern politics. A “modernization”

bereft of these universal values and this basic political framework is a disastrous

process that deprives people of their rights, rots away their humanity, and destroys

their dignity. Where is China headed in the 21st century? Will it continue with this

“modernization” under authoritarian rule, or will it endorse universal values, join the

mainstream civilization, and build a democratic form of government?”

 

Now is China’s chance to take a magnanimous step towards democracy. China can

do this immediately – by showing pride that one of its citizens, Liu Xiaobo, has

received the world’s greatest award in recognition of a struggle to uphold human

rights. This award should be an honour for China, too.



In 2005, Liu Xiaobo wrote:

“Didn't they say that China was in a golden moment of historical peak, and that the

state of human rights is at the very best? Didn't they say that the present

government wants to treat "the people as the foundation" in order to build a

"harmonious society"? Then why is the government which has built the golden and almighty China so panicky? Why in this "harmonious society" in which "the people

are the foundation" are I and other dissidents treated like trash to be stomped upon?

Why must the "harmonious society" be constructed only with police officers posted at

stations?”

 

It does not befit a great country to denounce the Nobel Peace Prize, expand the

restrictive security net around a peace laureate to include his friends and relatives,

and persuade foreign diplomats to boycott the prize ceremony. Since the prize

announcement, there has been no let-up in the harassment of Liu’s family and

supporters, and all others attempting free speech activities in China. Liu Xiaobo’s

wife, Liu Xia, is under house arrest. Several Chinese human rights activists have

been prevented from leaving the country in case they go to Oslo, and Liu’s brothers

are pessimistic about their chances of being able to travel in his place.



Chinese citizens make up one fifth of the world’s population. Liu Xiaobo’s case is not

the story of one man: he is a symbol of the aspirations and treatment of 1.3 billion

people.



The call for worldwide readings of ‘Charter 08’, and Liu Xiaobo’s poem ‘You Wait for

me with Dust’, signify support for the campaigner, and a call for his release from

prison.



A courageous activist all his life, Liu Xiaobo once wrote that “in a dictatorial country,

open letters signed by individuals or groups form an important method for the

civilians to resist dictatorship and fight for freedom.”iii And so we, citizens of the

world, sign this appeal – some with our names, and many, many more with our

voices, which will be raised on 20th March 2011 to read Liu’s words – and show

solidarity with him, and others in China, who are not free to say what they want.



We will continue to speak up until there is an end to the unjust incarceration of Liu

Xiaobo, and others like him.

 

www.literaturfestival.com
The poem: You wait for me with Dust