A former literature professor, Xiaobo was a leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, for which he served two years in a labor camp. After helping write 2008's Charter 08 calling for democratic change and freedom of expression, he was given the 11-year sentence. In court before his 2009 sentencing, he read a statement to "tell the regime that deprives me of my freedom" - its police, prosecutors and judges - "I have no enemies, and no hatred." He also spoke of his fierce love for his wife Liu Xia, now under house arrest; for him she was "all the beauty in the world," he wrote, and "even if I am crushed into powder, I will embrace you with ashes." Since then, he hadn’t been heard from publicly.
"You want to bury him / Bury into the dirt / But you forget / He is a seed."