Open Letter to G20 Leaders on Liu Xiaobo, 4 July 2017

International Tibet Network, 5 July 2017

Tibet Network — To: Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina; Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia; Michel Temer, President of Brazil; Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; Emmanuel Macron, President of France; Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia; Paolo Gentiloni, Prime Minister of Italy; Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan; Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico; Vladimir Putin, President of Russia; Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia; Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa; Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea; Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey; Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Donald Trump, President of the United States of America; Donald Tusk, President of the European Council; Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

cc Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of The Netherlands; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain.

We are shocked and outraged at the news that Liu Xiaobo, an innocent human rights defender, has been diagnosed as gravely ill while unjustly detained by China, and we hope you are equally affronted. In the past week Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, have made their desire to leave China, to seek treatment abroad, very clear.

As you depart for the G20 summit in Hamburg, we appeal to you to urgently demand of China’s President the unconditional release of Liu Xiaobo and freedom to travel with his family wherever he wishes. We further call on you to express to Xi Jinping, in the strongest possible terms, your profound concern about how Liu Xiaobo reached this critical state.

The circumstances of Liu’s illness are a tragic reminder of the case of highly respected Tibetan lama and political prisoner, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who died in custody in July 2015. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche served over 13 years imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. He was known to be in extremely poor health with a serious heart condition and high blood pressure. His family had made made an official application for his release on medical parole in 2014, for which he was eligible. The specific cause of his death remains unknown.

Despite Liu Xiaobo and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche having – along with Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti – international prominence as human rights defenders imprisoned by China, one is dead and another is now dying. You, jointly and individually, must exert pressure on Xi Jinping during the G20 summit concerning Liu Xiaobo’s full freedom. If you do not China’s leadership will be strengthened and believe they can continue to act with impunity – and the entire international community will lose.

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s niece, Nyima Lhamo, sends this direct appeal: “Liu Xiaobo’s case shows that China has learned nothing from my uncle’s unnecessary and tragic death. I appeal to you to step forward and ensure this is the last time this can happen. As fellow human beings, we are all morally obliged to ensure that China’s treatment of Liu Xiaobo doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Liu Xiaobo’s 2010 Nobel Peace Prize illuminated the human and political rights of the people under China’s rule, and created a real sense of hope. We urge you not to let that sense of hope fade, and call on you to press President Xi to release Liu Xiaobo and all the heroic human rights defenders that remain in China’s prisons, including Ilham Tohti, and press that China take tangible steps to implement the political and human rights reforms that these brave advocates are risking their lives to promote.


International Tibet Network Secretariat, on behalf of the 175 Tibet Groups listed below

Initiatives for China

Ilham Tohti Initiative

World Uyghur Congress

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO)

Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center

Open Letter to G20 Leaders on Liu Xiaobo, 4 July 2017