The Journey of Liu Xiaobo


The Journey of Liu Xiaobo

From Dark Horse to Nobel Laureate

Edited by Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
With Yu Zhang, Jie Li, and Tienchi Martin-Liao
Translated by Stacy Mosher and Andréa Worden

544 pages
20 photographs


April 2020


$36.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2020


$36.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2020


$36.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

An Authorlink Top Five Book of 2020

As a fearless poet and prolific essayist and critic, Liu Xiaobo became one of the most important dissident thinkers in the People’s Republic of China. His nonviolent activism steered the nation’s prodemocracy currents from Tiananmen Square to support for Tibet and beyond. Liu undertook perhaps his bravest act when he helped draft and gather support for Charter 08, a democratic vision for China that included free elections and the end of the Communist Party’s monopoly on power. While imprisoned for “inciting subversion of state power,” Liu won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. He was granted medical parole just weeks before dying of cancer in 2017.
The Journey of Liu Xiaobo draws together essays and reflections on the “Nelson Mandela of China.” The Dalai Lama, artist and activist Ai Weiwei, and a distinguished list of leading Chinese writers and intellectuals, including Zhang Zuhua, the main drafter of Charter 08, and Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobo, and noted China scholars, journalists, and political leaders from around the globe, including Yu Ying-shih, Perry Link, Andrew J. Nathan, Marco Rubio, and Chris Smith illuminate Liu’s journey from his youth and student years, through his indispensable activism, and to his defiant last days. Many of the pieces were written immediately after Liu’s death, adding to the emotions stirred by his loss.

Original and powerful, The Journey of Liu Xiaobo combines memory with insightful analysis to evaluate Liu’s impact on his era, nation, and the cause of human freedom.

Author Bio

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman is a novelist, short story writer, and journalist. She is vice president emeritus of PEN International and served as chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee while Liu was imprisoned. Leedom-Ackerman later served as the International Secretary of PEN International in the same years Liu Xiaobo was president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC). Yu Zhang is a Chinese citizen based in Sweden. As a scholar, editor, and translator, he is the coordinator of the ICPC’s Writers in Prison and the Freedom to Write Committee and served as secretary-general of the ICPC during the years Liu was president of the center. Jie Li is a Chinese American librarian, editor of the Democratic China English website, and a former volunteer for the ICPC. Tienchi Martin-Liao is a Chinese German author, editor, and translator and the president of the ICPC.


“One of the strengths of The Journey of Liu Xiaobo is the probity and conviction of its articles, all but five of which were translated from Chinese into English. Many of the authors didn’t just know Liu intimately but clearly display a deep knowledge of Chinese politics and culture.”—Ajay Singh, South China Morning Post Magazine

“This invaluable book shows the range and depth of Liu Xiaobo’s interests, concerns, and thoughts. It helps us know this remarkable man intimately. As a document, this book bears another kind of witness, both personal and historical.”—Ha Jin, author of Waiting, winner of the National Book Award

“The late Nobel Peace Prize laureate comes alive in these intimate recollections and thoughtful reflections, contributed by dozens of his friends and admirers—many of them, like Liu, heroes of the long, hard Chinese struggle for democracy.”—Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University

“Through this book Liu Xiaobo lives on and will surely have increasing impact!”—Jerome Cohen, senior fellow for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

“This collection reminds us of Liu’s immense contributions to the cause of democracy and human rights in China. The Journey of Liu Xiaobo provides a moving and informative account of Liu’s evolution from an iconoclastic literary critic to a noble political thinker and fearless freedom fighter.”—Minxin Pei, Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow, Claremont McKenna College

“Provocative, challenging, elegiac: the essays in The Journey of Liu Xiaobo capture the intellectual and activist spirit of the late literary critic and democracy icon. With contributions from a Who’s Who of China’s democracy movement and its global supporters, the essays speak to Liu’s role in political debates during his life and carry that legacy into the future. The collection is a fitting tribute to a man who hoped he would be ‘the last victim of China’s endless literary inquisitions.’”—Ken Roth, executive director, Human Rights Watch

The Journey of Liu Xiaobo traces the life of the talented writer, thinker, and activist whose commitment to freedom for himself and his society set him at odds with the formidable Chinese regime. Through these essays of friends and scholars, the reader learns about Liu Xiaobo from his youth, follows his actions and his thinking as it develops into a commitment to nonviolent change. Though Liu Xiaobo is no longer with us, his ideas and his vision endure and will influence generations to come.”—Jennifer Clement, president, PEN International

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    

Introduction: Unity of Knowledge and Action
Editor’s Note    
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
The Dalai Lama
The Passion of Liu Xiaobo    
Perry Link
Liu Xiaobo’s Spiritual Heritage    
Zhang Zuhua
Democracy’s Iron Man    
Cui Weiping
On the Causes of Controversies about Liu Xiaobo    
Yan Jiaqi
A Brief Biography of Liu Xiaobo    
Yu Zhang

Why Lui Xiaobo Matters: Black Hand behind a Red Wall
On the Liu Xiaobo Incident    
Yu Ying-Shih
Liu Xiaobo’s Death as an Event of Human Spirit    
Teng Biao
Liu Xiaobo, a Moral Giant of China’s Democratic Transition    
Yang Guang
For Whom the Bell Tolls    
Hu Ping
Liu Xiaobo and His Political Views    
Bao Tong
Liu Xiaobo on the Front Line of Ideas    
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
He Walked the Path of Kang Youwei and Shed the Blood of Tan Sitong    
Wang Dan
Remembering a Hero and a Martyr    
Carl Gershman
Chinese Culture’s Backbone    
Qian Yuejun

Youth and University Days: Innocent Hearts to Dark Horse
Liu Xiaobo’s Resistance    
Shao Jiang
The Last Idealist    
Wang Wei
I Look Forward to a Magnificent Farewell    
Ai Xiaoming
Unfinished Journey    
Mo Zhixu
Liu Xiaobo Turned Radical Suffering into Calm    
Su Xiaokang
A Formidable Personality    
Jean-Philippe Béja

Tiananmen Square and After: No Enemies
In Memory of My “Best Friend,” Liu Xiaobo    
Zhou Duo
Liu Xiaobo, Who Has Ascended the Altar    
Yi Ping
The Values of Peace and Reason Are Eternal    
Wu Zuolai
Liu Xiaobo and His View of “No Enemies”     
Jin Zhong
Liu Xiaobo, An Eternal Monument    
Pan Yongzhong
Shi Tao
Xu Lin
The Well after Its Name Has Left: In Memory of a Departed Poet    
Zi Kang
Message to Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia    
Tiananmen Mothers
Politics, People, and PEN: Facing up to and Resisting Reality
Our Last Parting Unexpectedly Became Our Final Farewell    
Wang Debang
Missing My Good Friend Liu Xiaobo    
He Depu
Mourning Little Brother Xiaobo    
Cary S. Hung
Some Recollections of Liu Xiaobo    
Zhao Dagong
A Prisoner on His Road    
Ye Du
Liu Xiaobo and I    
Liu Di
The Most Forgiving Opposition    
Zheng Yi
The Liu Xiaobo I Knew    
Cai Chu
Xiaobo, Tonight I Light a Cigarette for You    
Emily Wu
Liu Xiaobo, Me, and Independent Chinese PEN Center    
Qi Jiazhen
Being-toward-Death: Remembering Xiaobo    
Xiao Qiao
China’s Free Spirit    
Qin Geng
The Final Farewell    
Yu Jianrong
Profound Memories to Be Cherished Forever    
Yan Jiawei
Twofold Grievous News, Nothing Can Top It    
Wang Jinbo
Charter 08: No Hatred
Liu Xiaobo’s Self-Cultivation in Suffering    
Xu Youyu
Deeply Concerned for Liu Xiaobo, on the Verge of Death    
Jiang Qisheng
On One of Liu Xiaobo’s Ideological Legacies    
Pei Yiran
Mourning Liu Xiaobo    
Sun Wenguang
What Liu Xiaobo Means to Hong Kong    
Albert Ho Chun-yan
Why I Follow Mr. Liu Xiaobo    
Lu Yang
Liu Xiaobo Is a Hero to Hongkongers    
Tsoi Wing-Mui
Salute Liu Xiaobo!    
Zhao Changqing
Nobel Peace Prize: Empty Chair
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2010    
Norwegian Nobel Committee
A Good Choice of Nobel Prize for Xiaobo    
Sha Yexin
The Spirit of Liu Xiaobo’s “No Enemies” Will Exist Forever in Japan    
Makino Seishu and Wang Jinzhong
China Will Face Dilemma and Inconsistency between the Nobel Prizes for Literature and Peace: One Thought after the Death of Liu Xiaobo    
Hori Takeaki

Being-toward-Death: Torch in the Darkness
Xiaobo and His Era    
Yu Jie
A Life like a Symphonic Poem: Farewell to Liu Xiaobo    
Tienchi Martin-Liao
Liu Xiaobo Had a Dream    
Kaiser Abdurusul ÖzHun
Ascending the Altar: Mourning Liu Xiaobo    
Chen Kuide
Two or Three Things about Liu Xiaobo    
Ai Weiwei
Liu Xiaobo’s Death and Chinese Regime’s Fear    
Andrew J. Nathan
Liu Xiaobo’s Fight for Freedom    
Louisa Greve
“They Killed Him”: Denial of Medical Care in China and the Literary Conscience    
James Tager
Remembering Liu Xiaobo    
Hu Jia
Elegy for Liu Xiaobo    
Liao Yiwu
Tsering Woeser
My Brother, Why Have You Gone to Die?     
Du Daobin
Li Yongsheng

Conclusion: Heart to Heart
Liu Xia
Preface to Liu Xia’s Photo Album    
Liu Xiaobo

Xiaobo, a Meteoroid in Darkness    
Independent Chinese PEN Center
Liu Xiaobo—An Exceptional Life, Always Remembered    
PEN International
Chinese Publisher’s Afterword    
Wang Tiancheng
To Those Gathered for the Book Launch of Essays Commemorating Liu Xiaobo and Dialogue on His Legacy    
Marco Rubio and Chris Smith
Letter of Thanks to PEN International Congress    
Liu Xia
Additional Statements    
Books by Liu Xiaobo    
Liu Xiaobo’s Awards and Honors    
Charter 08    
I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement    
Liu Xiaobo
List of Contributors    


An Authorlink Top Five Book of 2020

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