Mayor Jón Gnarr wants Poet free from Chinese Prison Skip to content

Mayor Jón Gnarr wants Poet free from Chinese Prison

Mayor Jón Gnarr hosted ex-Beijing mayor Liu Qi at Reykjavík City hall today. Liu Qi is also the General Secretary of the Beijing Communist Party and was chairman of the organizing committee for the Olympics in 2008.


Poet Liu Xianbo

Mayor Gnarr used the occasion and handed the Chinese visitor a letter in which the Reykjavík Mayor demands release of the poet Liu Xianbo from jail. According to RÚV Liu Xianbo was sentenced to eleven years in jail last year for his political beliefs and his fight for political reform in China.

According to the webpage of PEN an association of writers, Liu Xiaobo was tried by the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on December 23, 2009, and pleaded not guilty to the charge of “inciting subversion of state power.” The trial lasted less than three hours, and the defense was not permitted to present evidence. Two days later, on December 25, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights. The Beijing High Court rejected his appeal on February 11, 2010.

Liu Xiaobo was formally arrested by the Beijing Public Security Bureau on June 23, 2009 and charged with “inciting subversion of state power” for co-authoring Charter 08, a declaration calling for political reform, greater human rights, and an end to one-party rule in China that has been signed by hundreds of individuals from all walks of life throughout the country.

One of Liu Xiaobo’s poems:

Longing to Escape

for my wife

abandon the imagined martyrs

I long to lie at your feet, besides

being tied to death this is

my one duty

when the heart’s mirror-

clear, an enduring happiness

your toes will not break

a cat closes in behind

you, I want to shoo him away

as he turns his head, extends

a sharp claw toward me

deep within his blue eyes

there seems to be a prison

if I blindly step out

of with even the slightest

step I’d turn into a fish

8. 12. 1999

Translated by Jeffrey Yang

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