Unlike Fang Lizhi, Liu played an important and active role in the Tiananmen demonstrations, cutting short a fellowship at Columbia University to be in Beijing. Liu acted as an advisor to students protesters and staged a hunger strike of his own in early June alongside musician Hou Dejian, journalist Gao Xin, and researcher Zhou Duo.
Liu and his fellow hunger strikers posted four slogans:
1) We have no enemy! Don’t let hatred and violence poison our wisdom and the process of democratization!
2) We all need to examine ourselves. China’s backwardness is everyone’s responsibility!
3) We are first and foremost citizens.
4) We are not looking for death, but are seeking a true life!
Geremie Barmé’s essay, “Confession, Redemption and Death,” delves in great detail into Liu Xiaobo’s role in the 1989 demonstrations.
Liu’s role in Tiananmen, from the Nobel Peace Center: