Light a Candle for Liu Xiaobo

In Global Trade Talk by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka


We’ve been remiss in not writing about the trial and sentencing of literary critic and political commentator Liu Xiaobo (please forgive us), which took place over the holidays. For a year Liu Xiaobo has been under arrest — at first, with no formal charge, then in July on the ominous charge of “inciting subversion of state power” for co-authoring Charter 08, a direct appeal to the Chinese government for political reform. The appeal was signed by 10,000 people, including intellectuals and political activists. (The New York Review of Book has a good summary.) His trial that took place on December 25 and Liu was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment — the longest such sentence for subversion in a decade.

The trial has brought renewed and much needed attention to his cause. Over the past several weeks writers across the world have protested, including former Czech president Vaclav Havel (who authored Charter 77, the document written in 1977 and aimed at Soviet oppression on which Charter 08 was based) and members of PEN. Tonight in Hong Kong, protestors have organized a candlelight vigil for Liu Xiaobo, as the struggle for his release continues.

You, too, can help by writing a letter of protest on your own and PEN’s petition to free Liu Xiaobo here or write Chinese premier Hu Jintao a letter. As Jaroslaw Adamowski wrote in the Guardian last week, “Perhaps it is time to dust off the good old samizdat.”

(Image via

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.