Sentenced for the crime of speaking
Liu Xiaobo was born on the 28th of December 1955. As a young man he studied literature and philosophy, and worked as a literary critic and university lecturer in Beijing. He took a doctorate in 1988, after which he was a guest lecturer at universities in Europe and the USA.
Liu Xiaobo took part in the student protests on Tiananmen Square in 1989. For that he was sentenced to two years in prison. Later he served three years in a labour camp for having criticised China's one-party system.
For over twenty years, Liu has fought for a more open and democratic China. He demands that the Chinese authorities comply with Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution, which lays down that the country's citizens enjoy "freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration".
In 2008, Liu was a co-author of Charta 08, a manifesto which advocates the gradual shifting of China's political and legal system in the direction of democracy. He was arrested in December 2008, and sentenced a year later to eleven years' imprisonment for undermining the state authorities. Liu has constantly denied the charges. "Opposition is not the same as undermining", he points out.