In Berlin, the internationales literaturfestival berlin hosted a well attended evening reading at the Martin Gropius Bau. Nobel literature laureate Herta Müller, and the human rights lawyer Peter Raue, both spoke about Liu’s unjust incarceration. You can read Herta Müller’s powerful speech here.
Liu was remembered through readings, by professional actors, of the co-written Charter 08, and his poems ‘You wait for Me with Dust’ and ‘Words a Cell Can’t Hold’.
Listening to, or reading, Charter 08 you realize how seldom those of us who live in free societies pause to reflect on the liberties and privileges we enjoy daily. The Charter also makes you consider how even the most democratic and free societies on our planet fall short on some of the principles laid out in it.
The Charter outlines an ideal that all governments and citizens should aspire to. It is sad and unnecessary that China should feel so threatened by this document. A truly strong society champions those who raise the moral bar. A truly open society values the writers, artists and activists who challenge the status quo, and give us, through their work, glimmers and visions of better worlds.