Supporters Deliver 450,000 Petitions From Tutu's Global Call to Free Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo

Press Release
February 27, 2013

Supporters Deliver 450,000 Petitions From Tutu's Global Call to Free Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo

More than 450,000 citizens in 130 countries join 134 Nobel laureates in demanding China’s new leader release Liu, the only imprisoned Nobel laureate

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @AIUSAmedia

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In a campaign led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo, with the support of Amnesty International, hundreds of thousands of people around the world united on Wednesday in support of imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia. Supporters delivered petitions as part of a campaign created by Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Change.org to demand their immediate release.

More than 450,000 people from 130 countries signed the petition that was delivered to Chinese authorities in Berlin, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, London, New York and Washington D.C. The campaign was launched in solidarity with a letter signed by 134 Nobel laureates demanding Liu's freedom.

"Today, 450,000 petitions were delivered to Chinese authorities in Hong Kong, Paris, Washington, and other cities," said Archbishop Tutu, who started the petition demanding freedom for his fellow Nobel laureate Liu. "These petitions represent the voices of people around the globe imploring the new Chinese government to release Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia. We hope this will show China that the world supports their willingness to hear the voices of their people."

Liu Xiaobo has been detained since December 2008, and his wife has been under house arrest since October 2010. The Nobel Laureate is serving an 11-year sentence for "inciting subversion of state power" for his part as the leading author behind "Charter '08", a manifesto calling for the recognition of fundamental human rights in China.

From Hong Kong to Washington, supporters took symbolic photographs of themselves in front of local landmarks, with a picture of Liu on an empty chair to highlight his imprisonment, before delivering the petition.

Since the launch of the campaign in December last year, every new signature to the petition on Change.org has sent an email to officials in Chinese consulates and embassies around the world.

"Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia represent the hopes and aspirations of millions of Chinese who are currently silenced. This show of solidarity from people all over the world sends a powerful message to the Chinese government to free this courageous couple and all other prisoners of conscience," said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

"It is wonderful to see such a massive and genuine outpouring of support for Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia," said Jared Genser, the founder of Freedom Now—a member organization of the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo—and international pro bono counsel to the Lius. "Clearly, the citizens' movement led by Archbishop Tutu speaks with one voice when it calls for the immediate release of the Lius. We urge the Chinese government to heed this moral imperative."

T. Kumar, Amnesty International's Director of International Advocacy, is available for interviews upon request.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.