Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Verdict in Liu Xiaobo case: English translation

Here's an English translation (with Chinese text appended) of the Dec. 25, 2009 verdict against Liu Xiaobo. A couple of interesting points:

1. There are no allegations of anything other than pure speech.

CORRECTION (Dec. 31, 2009): A colleague has pointed out that this is not correct. The verdict states:

Between September and December 2008, the defendant Liu Xiaobo colluded with others to draft and concoct the "Charter 08", that proposed views such as "eliminate the monopoly of one party on the exercise of political power", "to create a Chinese federation under the framework of democratic constitutional system of governance", seeking to incite the overthrow of state power. Liu Xiaobo collected the signatures of over 300 people and sent "Charter 08" together with the signatures in an email to websites outside of the borders of mainland China publish it on websites outside the borders of mainland China such as "Democratic China" and "The Independent Chinese Pen Association".

On the whole, however, I believe the main charges still relate to pure speech.

2. I'm struck by the extent of government fears about Liu's impact despite the apparent lack of interest (as far as the evidence shows) that the wider world showed in Liu's on-line writings. Athough the verdict claims that Liu used the internet in order to take advantage of the wide circulation and broad social impact it could offer, none of the offending articles cited in verdict had been visited more than several hundred times. The most popular got 748 clicks; the least popular got 57 clicks. Not exactly a prairie fire.

Many thanks to the translator, who wishes to remain anonymous.

(Here's an alternate source for the translation.)

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