National Endowment for Democracy deplores Chinese government treatment of Liu Xiaobo


CONTACT:  Jane Riley Jacobsen,, 202-378-9700

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) deplores the unconscionable medical neglect suffered by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo during his unjust imprisonment since 2009 for his efforts to advance democratic reform in China.  It was announced this week that Liu would be granted medical parole due to terminal, late-stage liver cancer.  Liu was the co-recipient of NED’s 2014 Democracy Award along with acclaimed legal scholar Xu Zhiyong, who remains in prison, pending the completion of his four-year sentence on July 15. 

“Liu Xiaobo is one of the great heroes of democracy, in the tradition of Feng Lizhi and Andrei Sakharov,” said NED president Carl Gershman.  “His imprisonment and cruel treatment by the Chinese government is a moral and political outrage.  Liu Xiaobo embodies the dream of a great China with genuine moral authority far better than do the country’s current leaders, who fear the eloquent and independent voice that Liu represents.  We pray for his health, admire his immense courage and integrity, and stand in solidarity with his hope for a democratic China.”

Liu Xiaobo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, was unable to receive the prize due to an 11-year prison sentence for his critical writings and role in launching Charter 08. The declaration calling for political reforms and human rights published in 2008 quickly garnered over 10,000 signatories from throughout China. Liu Xiaobo’s writing and publishing inspired an entire generation in China and played a major role in advancing democratic ideas and values. Among his many contributions were his work as editor of Democratic China magazine for several years until his arrest, and his tenure as president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center from 2003 to 2007. Both organizations received annual NED grants for many years.

While the Endowment welcomes Liu’s medical parole, NED is deeply concerned about Liu’s welfare and urges the Chinese government to unconditionally release him and allow Liu and his wife Liu Xia to seek medical treatment wherever they wish.  NED stands in solidarity with Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, and all those who courageously seek a democratic future for the Chinese people.