When literary scholar, writer and human rights activist Dr. Liu Xiaobo (1955-2017) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, he became the fifth Peace Laureate banned by a repressive government from attending the Award Ceremony in Oslo. The picture of Thorbjørn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee looking at the “empty chair” at this left side, travelled the world and became the embodied icon of a “presence of absence”.

The lecture will trace some of Liu Xiaobo’s many lives and works documented in his numerous books and texts. It will also look at how the void he left, due to his 11-year prison sentence and his untimely death in July 2017, ever since, has been filled by different individuals and interest groups with different agencies.

Irmy Schweiger is Professor of Chinese Studies at the Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies.