Three Reasons to Free Liu Xiaobo

A former premiere's aide says the Nobel laureate's conviction was a mistake for China.
By Bao Tong
2012-12-14
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Hong Kong protesters call for the release of Liu Xiaobo, June 25, 2009.
Hong Kong protesters call for the release of Liu Xiaobo, June 25, 2009.
AFP

The wrongful conviction of Liu Xiaobo was based on a false premise; that citizens who hold different opinions [from the ruling Chinese Communist Party] are "dangerous elements."

The 18th Party Congress finally reached a consensus, that the biggest threat to the existence of Party and state is corruption.

This is one major reason why the Liu Xiaobo case must be dealt with.

Liu Xiaobo's only crime was to advocate a federalist system, and he was only convicted because those in charge of the case at the time have no understanding of the law, no understanding of history, and apparently no knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party's own viewpoint.

After the mistake was made, Li Rui, Hu Jiwei and other Party elders spoke out, saying that a federalist system was a goal of both the 2nd Party Congress and the 7th Party Congress, as being likely to lead to ethnic equality and unity across China.

If all advocates of this idea are to be thrown into jail, then, pray, where is the political and legal affairs committee going to put those who attended the 2nd and 7th Party Congresses?

This is another major reason.

The biggest reason is the humanistic principles upheld by the winners of Nobel prizes.

Of course, these 135 well-known international figures aren't taking aim at any resolutions passed by the 18th, the 2nd, or the 7th Party Congress.

They have climbed high, and they see far. They have their sights set firmly on universal values.

The international human rights covenants are a starting point, not just to improve China's image, but to give some momentum to the new leadership in correcting the mistakes of their predecessors.

While this mistake was made by the old administration, the next generation of leaders is in danger of compounding it if they obstruct the path of goodwill.

Compounding the error will plunge both the new and the old leadership into a morass of injustice.

Almost all successors are called upon to make up for the mistakes of their predecessors, and it is sometimes desirable to have outside help to do so.

We can take the well-known case of Yue Fei's unjust imprisonment as an example.

The Song Emperor made a grave error, and his nephew Xiaozong lost no time in overturning the "cast-iron" case against him when he took the throne.

What did Xiaozong rely on, in order to do this? Not his personal judgement, but on the opinions of right-thinking members of society.

So it was that he was able to solve practical problems, and at the same time to avoid in an appropriate manner any rift between himself and the old emperor, who was still around at the time.

To treat the initiative by the Nobel laureates as "interference in our internal affairs" seems shallow in the extreme.

It is a view that can certainly only reflect the level of a "spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

Only those with no wisdom would fail to move with the zeitgeist and sit by and waste such an opportunity.

Why not take some good advice now, rather than regret it later?

Translated by Luisetta Mudie.

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Wales

The CCP regime's imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo is retaliation for his having publicly called for the end of one-party authoritarian rule and the establishment of an accountable government constrained by the rule of law and having normal elections for the national-level rulers. The Party oligarchs wish to intimidate anybody who dares go public with such ideas. The main precedent of a regime that imprisoned a Nobel Peace Laureate for years on end and didn't allow the laureate to go to Scandinavia and pick up the prize was Nazi-ruled Germany during the 1930s.

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