Dec 14, 2010

Taiwan: Liu Xiaobo Praises ROC as a Democratic Model

The author of a German-published biography on the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has urged Taiwanese people to learn more about this important personality and his links with Taipei.

Below is an article published by Focus Taiwan

The author of a biography on Liu Xiaobo urged people in Taiwan on Sunday [12 December 2010] to find out more about the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner and his extensive connections with Taiwan.

The biography, written by exiled Chinese writer Bei Ling in 47 days, was published in Germany on the eve of the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony last Friday.

Munich-based publisher Riva Verlag, with the encouragement of European Union authorities, printed 15,000 copies of the biography in its first run.

Although Liu has authored about a dozen books, few of them can be found in bookstores in Western countries, Bei said.

Part of the biography, he said, highlights Liu's connection with Taiwan.

It includes many of Liu's articles written soon after the 1989 Tiananmen Incident that were carried by the Taipei-based China Times newspaper and also tells the story of Yu Chi-chung, the late founder of the daily, giving Liu US$60,000 to help him publish his memoir titled "Monologue: Survivors of Doomsday."

Several of Liu's works related to ideology, including his most recent work -- "Sinking of Big Country: Memorandum to China" -- have also been published in Taiwan.

"Taiwan has served as the most important publishing base for Liu," Bei said.

Liu was sentenced to 11 years in jail in late 2009 -- one of the harshest ever for any Chinese dissident -- on charges of "inciting subversion of state power, " a vague and unique term that China uses to prosecute critics of the state.

Liu was arrested in December 2009 on the eve of the release of "Charter 08, " a blueprint Liu co-authored with about 300 people from across all spectrums of Chinese society.

The document called for an end to the Communist Party of China's dominance of the government, military and courts, protection of freedom of speech and religious beliefs, and the implementation of constitutional democracy in China

In interviews with the Central News Agency before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Liu said he was very interested in Taiwan's democratic development and felt it could serve as "an enlightenment or a model" for China.

"I'm very curious about what the younger generation of Taiwan has been thinking and doing, as this would be a key indicator of the direction in which Taiwan will move," he said at the time.

Bei praised President Ma Ying-jeou's call on the day of the Nobel award ceremony for Liu's early release.

Both Liu, who is being held in a prison in Liaoling Province, and his wife, Liu Xia, were barred from attending the award ceremony held in Oslo, Norway, and the chair where the Nobel Prize winner would normally sit was left empty.

Bei said the "empty seat" signaled the big gap between the " real China and universal values" and would produce "unlimited" influence in the home country of the Nobel laureate, whether he is behind bars or in exile in a foreign country.

Bei, who now lives in Germany, said he planned some additions to the biography that will lengthen it to 200,000 words, and will have it republished in Taiwan with a new title.