NEWS IN SHORT

Slovak VIPs support Chinese dissident

LIU XIAOBO, a Chinese dissident, has been given the public support of Czech and Slovak personalities as the candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

LIU XIAOBO, a Chinese dissident, has been given the public support of Czech and Slovak personalities as the candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Xiaobo was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the American branch of the international writer’s organisation PEN, but his nomination met with immediate criticism from Chinese authorities.

“It would be very bad if such a person received the Nobel Prize,” the Sme daily quoted the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry. Xiaobo is a co-author of the Chinese Charter 08, which calls for the respect of human rights in China. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his dissention.

Former Czechoslovak dissidents connected to a similar document, Charter 77, stood up in support of Xiaobo’s nomination. These supporters included former Czech president Václav Havel.

More than 50 Slovaks also signed a petition in support of Xiaobo, including the honorary president of the Institute for Public Affairs Martin Bútora, political scientist and former dissident Miroslav Kusý, writers Tomáš Janovic and Ľubomír Feldek, and many others.

In their letter, the signatories state that the political reforms in 1989 were successful in Slovakia, but less so in China, where many such as Xiaobo fight for basic human rights and freedoms.

“We are touched by the fact that our example inspires them to do so,” the letter reads. “Though its signing meant the degradation of social standing and imprisonment for many, Charter 77 became an inspiration for Liu Xiaobo and others to create Charter 08, which was presented symbolically on Human Rights Day.”


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