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Celebrity support for Chinese Nobel dissident

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Celebrity support for Chinese Nobel dissident
Protestors Dress up as Liu Xiaobo. Photo: DPA
07:30 CET+01:00
A German literature festival organised a global reading on Tuesday in honour of imprisoned Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, supported by luminaries including Salman Rushdie and Doris Lessing.

Organisers of Berlin's International Literature Festival said the reading of Liu's works in 18 languages under the banner "Freedom for Liu Xiaobo" was aimed at raising awareness of his plight.

"The goal of the global reading is to introduce Liu Xiaobo's works to a broader audience and to remind the world and protest against the fact that a humanist, freedom fighter, a gifted author and a Nobel Prize winner is still being held in China," a festival statement said.

Organisers published a list of around 150 institutions in 40 countries which have pledged to participate.

Authors including Rushdie, fellow Nobel winners Lessing, Herta Müller, Elfriede Jelinek and Coetzee, and prominent Israeli writers David Grossman and Amos Oz, had backed the call for a worldwide protest.

Liu, 56, who wrote a bold manifesto for democracy called Charter 08, was jailed for 11 years for subversion on Christmas Day 2009.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year despite an official Chinese protest, but was unable to attend the ceremony, where his chair remained empty.

Charter 08 is among the works to be read at the tribute Tuesday, which festival organisers mark each year as the "day of the political lie" -- the anniversary of the start of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

AFP/mw

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