TORONTO, Oct. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - The critic, writer, activist and Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo will receive PEN Canada's One Humanity Award at the 33rd International Festival of Authors (IFOA 33). The prize, valued at $5,000, is given to a writer whose work "transcends the boundaries of national divides and inspires connections across cultures." He will be given the award, in absentia, at PEN Canada's annual benefit at the IFOA in Toronto on October 18. Gloria Fung, former National Vice-President of the Chinese Canadian National Council will receive the award on Dr. Liu's behalf.
Dr. Liu Xiaobo, 56, remains imprisoned in China since his arrest in 2008. He is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power." Liu was arrested on December 8, 2008 for his involvement with the launch of Charter '08, a document calling for peaceful political reform, greater human rights and multi-party democracy in China.
After his arrest, Dr. Liu was held under Residential Surveillance in Beijing, until formal charges of "spreading rumours and defaming the government, aimed at subversion of the state and overthrowing the socialism system in recent years" were laid against him on June 23, 2009. The charge was based on his endorsement of Charter '08 and over 20 articles published between 2001-2008. On December 25, 2009 Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years deprivation of political rights on charges of "incitement to subversion of state power." In early February 2010 a Beijing court rejected his appeal.
On October 8, 2010 Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for freedom of expression and human rights. He was represented by an empty chair at the award ceremony in Oslo in December 2010. After winning the 2012 Nobel Prize for literature, Chinese novelist Mo Yan called for Liu Xiaobo to be freed "in good health and as soon as possible."
Background: Previous winners of the One Humanity Award include the Chinese journalist Jiang Weiping, Burmese poet and activist Zarganar, Mexican activist Lydia Cacho and Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.
PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right, at home and abroad. PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada.
There will be a short press conference and photo opportunity at 6 pm, prior to the PEN benefit.
SOURCE: PEN Canada
For further information:
Brendan de Caires, PEN Canada, (416) 703-8448 ext. 21 | [email protected]