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Liu Xiaobo, Prisoner of Conscience

On December 23, 2009, the People’s Republic of China condemned the poet Liu Xiaobo for the crime of “inciting subversion of state power.”  The trial lasted less than three hours, and the defense was not permitted to present evidence. Two days later, on December 25, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights.

Mr. Liu’s alleged crime was the co-authoring of Charter 08, which, inter alia, advocates free speech and the end of single party rule.

The PEN website has complete details of Mr. Liu’s harassment before his arrest and the concomitant harassment of other signatories to Charter 08.

As a member of PEN, I am urging people to write on Mr. Liu’s behalf. Letters should be sent to the Chinese Ambassador to your government. For Americans, the details are:  His Excellency, Mr. Zhou Wenzhong; Ambassador of the PRC to the United States; 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20007; Fax:  202.588.9760.

In England, the Ambassador is Madam Fu Ying; 49-51 Portland Place London W1B 1JL; Fax:020-7436 9178.

In Canada, the Ambassador is The Honorable Lan Lijun; 515 ST.PATRICK STREET, OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA, KIN 5H3; Fax: 001-613-7891911 7891414.

My experience in writing on behalf of prisoners of conscience is that fax is the most reliable way to communicate, but if you are more comfortable with email, you can go to the embassy websites to get email information.

Daybreak by Liu Xiaobo

over the tall ashen wall, between

the sound of vegetables being chopped

daybreak’s bound, severed,

dissipated by a paralysis of spirit

what is the difference between the light and the darkness

that seems to surface through my eyes

apertures, from the seat of rust

I can’t tell if it’s the glint of chains

in the cell or the god of nature

behind the wall

daily dissidents

makes the arrogant

sun stunned to no end

daybreak a vast emptiness

you in a far place

with nights of love stored away

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