Hong Kong Journalists Association expressed deep grief and sadness over the death of Liu Xiaobo, a leading Chinese dissident, crusader for freedom of speech and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We expressed the highest regard to him and the deepest condolences and warmest wishes to his wife Liu Xia.
We strongly protested against the Chinese authorities for putting Liu to jail on ground of his speech. The remarks he made would not have become the justification for criminal conviction in civilized and free societies. Furthermore, his family has been victimized, being deprived of the right to freedom of speech and other civic rights. We urge the Chinese Government to immediately right the wrong and give his family basic human rights.
Liu was convicted of subversion against the state in 2009. He was sentenced to jail for 11 years. Late June, he was given “medical parole” because of serious illness. He died on July 13. Even though he was given “medical parole,” he and his family had been deprived of the right of freedom of speech. Some journalists who attempted to report his medical treatment in Shenyang had encountered difficulties in their work.
Liu was a founding member of the independent Chinese PEN Center. He was actively in promoting universal values including freedom, human rights, equality, democracy and rule of law. They are the basic values that are the strongest safeguards for freedom of speech and the press. We believe his pursuit of those ideals and values will not come to an end despite his departure.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
July 14, 2017