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Monday, 14 September 2009
Page: 9585


Mr Danby asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing , on 11 August 2009:

(1)   Is the Government aware that in June 2009 Mr Liu Xiaobo, one of China’s most prominent political activists, was formally arrested for inciting subversion, six months after he was taken into custody.

(2)   Is the Government aware that Mr Xiaobo was detained on the eve of the publication of ‘Charter 08’, a document he co-authored which was signed by hundreds of Chinese artists, academics and political activists, which called for political reforms in China, such as a new constitution, judicial independence and the freedom to assemble.

(3)   What is the Government’s position in relation to the detention and arrest of Mr Xiaobo.

(4)   Has the Government raised the issue of Mr Xiaobo’s detention and arrest with the Chinese Government; if not, does it plan to do so.


Mr Stephen Smith (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   The Government is concerned about the arrest and detention of Mr Liu Xiaobo and has called for his release.

(4)   The Government first raised Mr Liu’s detention with the Chinese authorities during the Australia-China Human Rights Dialogue, held in Canberra on 9-10 February 2009.  We subsequently followed up with representations through the Australian Embassy in Beijing to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The Government will continue to make representations to China on the detention of Charter 08 signatories and others who were exercising internationally recognised liberties, including freedom of speech.