TAIPEI, Taiwan — Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, will make what he calls his “last statement” titled: “I have no enemies” at the Dec. 10 award ceremony, although he will be unable to attend in person, an overseas friend of Liu said over the weekend.
Xu Wenli, an exiled Chinese dissident, told CNA that an American actor will read the statement for the prisoner of conscience, as neither he nor his wife Liu Xia will be allowed to accept the prize in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.
In the statement, Liu Xiaobo says he has fulfilled a Chinese citizen’s social responsibility by carrying out his constitutionally protected right of freedom of speech.
Liu is serving an 11-year sentence after being convicted of sedition. His “crime” is advocating freedom of speech and drafting a new Chinese constitution that has been endorsed by many other Chinese intellectuals — the so-called “Charter 08.”
“What I have done is innocent. I have no complaints, even though I have been accused [by the state],” Xu quoted Liu’s statement as saying.
Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights; it is the basis of human nature and the mother of truth. Suppressing freedom of speech is tantamount to trampling on human rights, stifling human nature and oppressing the truth, Liu says in the statement.
He says hatred erodes a person’s wisdom and conscience, and hostility poisons the spirit. “Once a cruel, life-or-death struggle has been fanned, a society’s spirit of tolerance and human nature will be destroyed and a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy will be hindered,” he adds.
Xu said the award ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. local time and that as no one will be accepting the prize in person, “it is believed that a two-to-three-minute silence will be observed before a foreign dignitary makes a speech.”
Xu, who himself was nominated for the prize in 1999, has been invited to witness the award ceremony honoring Liu.
Yang Jianli, another Chinese dissident currently living in the United States, said he has been trying to help arrange for Liu Xia to attend on behalf of her husband, but that the Chinese authorities will not allow her to go.
“I’m sure no-one will accept the prize and that it — along with the cash award — will likely be kept by the Nobel Prize Committee,” Yang said.
Yang said he does not see any possibility of the Chinese government softening its stance on this issue in the near future. But within one year, he predicted, China will take a more conciliatory approach by putting Liu under house arrest and incommunicado in the Beijing area rather than keeping him in jail.
Wang Dan, another well-known Chinese dissident and a student leader during the 1989 Tiananmen protests, told CNA that if precedent is any indicator, Liu will likely be sent abroad into exile “on medical grounds.”