On 13 July this year, China’s celebrated literary critic, poet and political dissident Liu Xiaobo died in a Chinese prison hospital. Incarcerated for calling for peaceful transition to democratic rule, he was denied medical attention until it was too late.
His death at 61 prompted a worldwide outpouring of grief for a writer of powerful moral conviction. In 2010 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his ‘long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China’.
This special session of the Festival will celebrate the life and mourn the death of a writer of conscience and symbol of freedom of expression against all those who want to silence dissent.
Chaired by Clive Hamilton, author and professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University, the speakers include:
John Fitzgerald, an eminent Sinologist and president of the Australian Academy of the Humanities;
Jeff Hu, a journalist, writer and witness, who is also a member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre;
Alex Joske, a Chinese–Australian student and journalist who researches suppression of free speech; and
Louisa Lim, former BBC correspondent in Beijing and author of the prize-winning The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited.