Activists in Hong Kong have temporarily erected a bust of the late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo to allow members of the public to mourn the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Passersby can also sign a petition calling for the Chinese government to release Liu’s widow Liu Xia, who remains under house arrest.
Liu Xiaobo died on July 13 last year following a battle with liver cancer while on medical parole. He had been serving an 11-year prison sentence for inciting “subversion of state power” since 2009. Liu was the co-author of Charter ’08, a manifesto calling for democratic reforms in China.
Albert Ho, chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, thanked a group of activists including Bull Tsang of the League of Social Democrats for creating the statue. It is displayed in a public area at Times Square mall in Causeway Bay.
“It is very genuine – it is a very simple statue, but it brought Liu Xiaobo here again in a lively way,” Ho said. “Liu has passed away, but his spirit has remained through the universal values in Charter ’08, which are praised by people who love civilisation, freedom and democracy.”
During the 1989 pro-democracy movement in China, Liu Xiaobo was known as one of the “Four Gentlemen” of Tiananmen Square. His group staged a hunger strike in the final days of the protests, in hopes of holding off a military clearance which occurred on June 4 of that year.
Chinese authorities have barred Western diplomats from visiting his widow Liu Xia, who said she would rather die than live under the long-term house arrest. She has never been charged with any crimes.
Lawmaker Fernando Cheung said China was not a civilised regime as no such regime would put a widow of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate under house arrest for seven years.
“Hongkongers, look clearly at this barbaric regime,” he said.
The public can sign a petition calling for the release of Liu Xia next to the statue.