Liu Xiaobo, recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, will be eligible for parole on June 8, 2014, the point at which he will have completed half of his sentence. Despite the Chinese government’s rumored eagerness to release and deport Liu on account of the widespread international attention he has attracted while imprisoned, in accordance with Chinese criminal law, Liu’s release will likely hinge on his willingness to express regret and admit guilt. Those close to Mr. Liu and his wife Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since December 2009, are doubtful that he would agree to admit guilt as a condition for release. Perry Link, a China scholar and translator of many of Liu’s works, recently wrote, “Boil a rock. When the rock softens, Liu will be ready to (admit guilt).”
On Christmas Day 2009, a Chinese court convicted Liu of “inciting subversion of state power” on account of his participation in drafting Charter 08, a manifesto calling for more freedom of expression, human rights protections, and democratic elections in China. He was sentenced to eleven years in prison.
Liu was also a student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests. He is considered one of the “four princes of Tiananmen Square” due to his role in persuading students to leave Tiananmen Square prior to the massacre on the morning of June 4, thus potentially saving hundreds of lives.