The sentencing of Liu Xiaobo comes despite international appeals for his release, which China sternly rejected as interference in its internal affairs.
Liu was the co-author of an unusually direct appeal for political liberalization in China called Charter 08. He was detained just before it was released last December. More than 300 people, including some of China’s top intellectuals, signed it.
The verdict was issued at the No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing after a two-hour trial Wednesday where prosecutors accused Liu of ”serious” crimes.
”All I can tell you now is 11 years,” the defendant’s wife, Liu Xia, told The Associated Press. Diplomats said they were told by Liu’s lawyers that he had been deprived of his political rights for a further two years.
The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department has issued an order to all Chinese search engines to block search results for the term “11 years.” But some netizens have just opened a Baidu forum under the keyword “11 years” here. Almost all comments are in support of Liu Xiaobo.
On Chinese Google, “Liu Xiaobo” and “Case of Liu Xiaobo” are among top ten fastest rising search terms.
Updates: On Twitter, thousands of Twitterers put yellow ribbons on their profiles to show support for Liu Xiaobo. CDT translated a few tweets as examples:
@aiww: The sentence is only on Liu Xiaobo, but the slap slams across every Chinese person’s face. Ai Weiwei
@leungmantao: I was going to stay away from blogs and micro-blogs, but I really can’t help it today.
From now on, “Merry Christmas” is a coded greeting among Chinese, it means: Remember Liu Xiaobo.
@cuiweiping: Thirty years ago, Wei Jingsheng was sentenced to 15 years. Thirty years later, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years. We spent thirty years in exchange for four years of progress.
@ye_du: According to sister Gao Yu, Charter 08 has 4024 characters. 4024 divided by 11 comes to 365. So Xiaobo is jailed one day for each Chinese character of Charter 08.
@zhangfacai: I have finished reading the indictment. I could not tell if it was indicting Xiaobo or f**king indicting themselves.
@mashaofang: He is already sentenced, so let me tell something true. Last November, inside Beijing Wansheng Bookstore, Xiaobo, Liu Xia [wife of Liu Xiaobo] and Professor He Weifang talked about Charter 08. I said, the cost will be someone going to jail. I do not want Xiaobo to go to jail again. Xiaobo said, if the cost for peacefully signing onto a Charter is imprisonment, I will do this without hesitation. His wife said: He is not afraid. I support him firmly!
@my1989: I just received a response from the signature group of Charter 08: Thank you for your support. Greetings to the veteran of the Square. Fighting for tomorrow. I am also a veteran from the Square.
收到宪章签名小组回执：谢谢支持。向老兵问候！为明天奋斗！ 签名整理小组 也是老兵