Scottish PEN members, the executive board, the staff and writers across Scotland come together to remember the courage, bravery and humanity of Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiaobo
Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiaobo died on Thursday 13th July having been released from prison on medical parole earlier this year. He had been in prison for 11 years following calls he made for democratic reform in China. Instrumental in the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests of 1989, where he participated in a hunger strike and brokered a peaceful exit for students who remained in the square, Liu’s commitment to democracy and human rights has been unwavering in spite of the risks. After his arrest, the Nobel committee awarded him the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, an award the Chinese state refers to as “a blasphemy’.
Liu Xiaobo was an honorary member of Scottish PEN. Along with numerous other PEN centres around the world, Scottish PEN campaigned for Liu’s freedom and reform of human rights in China. Scottish PEN worked on a project with pupils of Lomond School in Helensburgh to construct ‘A Chair for Xiaobo’. The chair was transported to Oslo in time for the presentation of Liu’s 2010 Nobel Prize. It was made with the hope that one day Liu Xiaobo would come to claim his chair. Scottish PEN will continue to campaign for the right of Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo’s widow, to have the freedom to travel and, hopefully, one day to come to Oslo to claim the chair as her inheritance.
The chair now sits on permanent display in the House of Literature, Oslo.