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Although vibrant economic development has been taking place in many parts of Asia, governments in a number of countries have increasingly imposed harsh crackdowns on political dissidents.  China and Vietnam exemplify this trend in the region.  Among imprisoned political dissidents in Asia is Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo of China, a renowned literary critic, writer, and political activist who played a leading role in organizing the Charter 08 manifesto, which called for greater political reforms in China.  Charter 08 was signed by over 350 Chinese intellectuals and civil leaders.

Le Quoc Quan

VIETNAM

Detained December 27, 2007 - June 27, 2015

UPDATE: Le Quoc Quan was released on June 27, 2015. The day after he released, he sat down for an interview about his time in prison. Read it here.

Le Quoc Quan was the founder of the Quan and Brothers law firm, which provided legal aid to factory workers and poor people in Vietnam. He was first arrested in March 2007 upon his return to Vietnam after completing a five month fellowship in Washington, DC. He was released in June 2007 only to be arrested again in December, nine days after the BBC published his article criticizing the retention of Article 4 of Vietnam’s Constitution, which makes the Communist Party preeminent in national political life. In October 2013, the Hanoi People’s Court sentenced him to 30 months imprisonment. 

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Liu Xiaobo

CHINA

Detained December 8, 2008
 

UPDATE: In July 2017, Liu Xiaobo died after being denied authorization to leave prison and receive treatment abroad for liver cancer. His wife remains under house arrest.

Liu Xiaobo of China was a renowned literary critic, writer, and political activist who played a leading role in organizing the Charter 08 Manifesto, which called for greater political reforms in China. Charter 08 was signed by over 350 Chinese intellectuals and civic leaders. On December 8, 2008, before the formal release of Charter 08, he was arrested and police arrived at his home in Beijing and confiscated computers and other materials. 

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