Sat, Jul 14, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Activists mark one year since Liu Xiaobo’s death

AFP and Reuters, HONG KONG and BEIJING

Police watch as protesters throw paper money after tying black ribbons to security fences outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Hong Kong activists yesterday tied black ribbons to security fences outside the Chinese government’s office in the territory to mark one year since the death of Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波).

A veteran of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Liu died from liver cancer while serving an 11-year sentence in China for “subversion.”

Dozens of pro-democracy campaigners gathered outside China’s liaison office in the semi-autonomous territory, ahead of a larger public memorial event later in the evening.

The commemorations came three days after Liu’s widow, Liu Xia (劉霞), arrived in Germany after eight years of de facto house arrest in Beijing.

Activists attached a picture of Liu Xiaobo to the wall outside the liaison office, tied black ribbons to metal barriers, burned incense and threw paper money traditionally offered to the dead.

The group also called for the release of prominent Chinese democracy activist Qin Yongmin (秦永敏), who Beijing on Wednesday jailed for 13 years for “subversion of state power.”

They also called for the release of lawyers arrested in the “709 crackdown” of 2015, the largest-ever clampdown on the legal profession in China.

“[The Chinese government] released Liu Xia on Tuesday, then jailed Qin Yongmin on Wednesday,” veteran democracy activist Leung Kwok-hung (梁國雄) said.

“So to release Liu Xia was an act to hoodwink the public and pretend to show mercy,” he told reporters.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki (郭家麒) called for freedom of speech and elections in China, as Liu Xiaobo had advocated.

China’s release of Liu Xia was a bid to woo European allies in the face of a trade war with the US, Kwok said.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) was criticized by democracy campaigners after she described the freeing of Liu Xia as an “act of humanitarianism.”

Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo (毛孟靜) on Thursday grilled Lam over that statement in a heated exchange in the Hong Kong Legislative Council, asking Lam whether she was a “Beijing groveler.”

Meanwhile, Beijing yesterday warned supporters of Liu Xiaobo not to mark the anniversary of his death.

Supporters of the Lius in China said they had been unable to organize any large-scale event to mark the day and some have been “vacationed” by the authorities, a common practice where security agents take prominent dissidents away from cities during sensitive events to keep them quiet.

Hu Jia (胡佳), a Beijing-based dissident who knew Liu Xiaobo, on Sunday told reporters that he was going to be taken to Chongli, four hours outside of Beijing.

“They said I could not go near the sea,” he said.

Liu Xiaobo was given an ocean burial, which prompted activists to flock to their nearest seashore to stage demonstrations.

Three other friends or supporters of Liu Xiaobo who declined to be named told reporters that they had been contacted by the authorities and told not to host memorial events or protests to mark the date.

State security could not be contacted for comment, as they do not have a publicly listed number.

The Chinese Ministry of State Security did not respond to a faxed request for comment.

In Taipei, exiled Chinese dissident Wuer Kaixi yesterday spoke at a ceremony to unveil a sculpture to commemorate Liu Xiaobo.

This story has been viewed 17845 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top