Dharamshala: The Central Tibetan Administration today organised a prayer gathering for deceased Chinese Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, a prominent democracy activist and staunch supporter of Tibetan aspirations.
Addressing the prayer ceremony, President Dr Lobsang Sangay said he mourned the loss of one of the greatest champions for democracy, protection of human rights and freedom in China. “Liu Xiaobo was the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize while living in China. Above all, he was among the first Chinese intellectuals to openly support genuine autonomy for Tibet.
“Liu Xiaobo is one rare Chinese intellectual who said His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the soul of Tibet and the best way for the Chinese government to show respect to Tibetans is to enable the soul of the snow-land to return to Tibet,” the president said.
“He was perhaps the first Chinese intellectual to be sentenced for speaking up for Tibet. In 1996 he was sentenced to three years in a labour camp for writing a joint letter, to China’s former President Jiang Zemin, supporting Tibetan self-determination and dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In March 2008, in the aftermath of the Tibetan uprising, he co-authored and signed the ‘Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibetan Situation”.
“His co-authoring of Charter 08, a manifesto advocating reform, freedom and democracy in China, is an act of unparalleled courage and sacrifice,” President Dr Sangay said, remembering China’s most prominent dissident.
“The Tibetan movement has lost a dear friend. But it is my belief that Liu Xiaobo’s ideas and unremitting efforts would continue to inspire, long after his death.”
“For us, Liu’s dream for a democratic China is still alive; his vision for a truly democratic China will be fulfilled,” President Dr Sangay concluded.
The prayer gathering joined by hundreds of Tibetans in Dharamshala, in expression of respect and gratitude to their Chinese friend.
Liu Xiaobo, 61, was arrested in 2008 after writing a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08, in which he called for an end to one-party rule and improvements in human rights. Following a year in detention and a two-hour trial, he was sentenced to 11 years in December 2009 for inciting subversion of state power. On 26 June 2017, he was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. He died on 13 July, becoming the second Nobel laureate to perish in custody (Carl von Ossietzky, an anti-Nazi pacifist, died in 1938).