Archbishop Tutu petitions online for Nobel Peace Prize winner’s freedom

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Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu is campaigning for the release of fellow laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is currently under arrest by the Chinese government.

The online petition is addressed to Chinese leader Xi Jinping and asks for the immediate release of the intellectual and democracy activist, who is also the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. It has received over 200 000 signatures since going live earlier this week.

Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 after helping write Charter 08. The Charter is a manifesto released on 10 December 2008 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It calls for more freedom of expression, human rights, more democratic elections, for privatizing state enterprises and land and for economic liberalism.

“Despite the United Nations [sic] saying Dr. Liu’s imprisonment and Liu Xia’s house arrest violate international law, the government continues to close them off from the outside world,” the petition says.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Liu its Peace Prize in 2010 in recognition of his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental rights in China.”

Earlier this week, 134 Laureates wrote to Xi demanding Liu’s release.

The South African Archbishop is no stranger to using technology to overcome political odds. In late 2011, he took part in a Google Hangout with the Dalai Lama on his birthday after the Tibetan leader was denied a visa to South Africa.

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