Liu Xiaobo will be sentenced on Christmas Day
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The verdict of conviction for "subversion" for non-violent dissident Liu Xiaobo will be delivered on Christmas day, at 9. So said a witness to the mock trial that was held today in a court in Beijing, lasting only two hours. Liu is likely to face 10 to 15 years in prison for having asked for political reform, greater democracy, respect for human rights in China.
Liu, 53, an intellectual and academic, was arrested a year ago just days after the publication on the internet of Charter 08, a document that calls for more attention from the Communist leadership to human rights in China and political and social reforms such as the separation between government , and the Communist Party, and the division of legislative, judicial and executive powers. The document also demand religious freedom for communities of all faiths, casting aside the division between "normal" (ie controlled) and "illegal" (not controlled) activities (See 26/01/2009 Charter 08, a plea for human rights in China | complete text). The document, obscured on the Internet, was immediately signed by some 300 intellectuals, personalities of the establishment and ordinary people. It then spread in secret, to be signed by tens of thousands of people, including members of the Party and Chinese overseas.
Liu has already spent years in prison for supporting the Tiananmen movement, having sought to avoid the massacre of 4 June 1989. After months of detention in unknown locations, Liu was accused of trying to subvert social order, the slogan with which the Communist Party labels anyone who attempts to undermine to its supremacy. The fact that the demands of Charter 08 are contained in the UN Convention on civil rights, signed by the Chinese government in the 90s, should be noted. Among the signatories of Charter 08, Liu is the only person to be arrested and prosecuted. The statesman Bao Tong, who was also arrested for opposing the Tiananmen massacre, was one of the first signatories of Charter 08. "If Liu is on trial - he told AFP-I should be prosecuted too." "If he is found guilty, it means that freedom of speech and freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution is a falsehood."
Before the trial, at least 300 people among the signatories of Charter 08 asked to be tried also with Liu Xiaobo because they are in total harmony with his ideas.
Some people who wanted to picket the court were hunted by police. Representatives of foreign embassies, who wanted to attend the trial, did not receive permission to enter the court. Governmental organizations and many governments in the international community have demanded the release of Liu, but Beijing says those demands are “unacceptable". Many point out that the decision to issue the verdict on Christmas Day, when major world media are on holiday, is a way to suppress any news on the sentencing.