China: Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Spotlights Rights Deficit

 Originally published by Human Rights Watch,October 8, 2010


Liu Xiaobo

This award will no doubt infuriate the Chinese government by putting its human rights record squarely back into the international debate.

Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch

Release Peace Laureate and Other Jailed Rights Defenders

(New York) – The awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese writer and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo underscores the urgent need for rights reforms in China, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch reiterated its longstanding call for the release of Liu, whom a Beijing court sentenced to an 11-year prison term on December 25, 2009.  His spurious “subversion” charges stemmed from his role in drafting and circulating Charter ’08, an online petition which advocates putting human rights, democracy, and the rule of law at the core of the Chinese political system. Originally signed by 303 Chinese citizens, including rights defenders and legal activists, it has been widely circulated online and has now collected thousands of signatures. Prior to his formal arrest on June 23, 2009, Liu had been held incommunicado since his detention on December 8, 2008.

Read More →

Liu Xiaobo and Chinese Democracy

Originally published by The New York Times,08 Oct 2010


Congratulations to Liu Xiaobo for winning the Nobel Peace Prize – and to the Nobel committee for giving it to him. China has countless dissidents and people pushing for democracy, of course, but there’s a reason Liu rose to the top in Nobel estimations. He has combined relentless courage and persistence in pushing for democracy over 21 years with a broad vision of democracy, all tethered to moderation and willingness to work with Communist Party leaders.

Read More →

Obama urges China to free Nobel laureate Liu

Originally published by The Associated Press, 08 Oct 2010
By Foster Klug

 WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday urged China to release quickly Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Obama called the jailed dissident an “eloquent and courageous” supporter of human rights and democracy.

 The comments are likely to rattle China further at a time that the United States is stepping up pressure on Beijing for a currency policy that Washington blames for American job losses.

 Obama’s statement, released hours after Liu was awarded the prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, reflected the sensitivity of U.S.-Chinese relations. Obama praised China’s “dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty.”

 But, he added, “this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected.”

 U.S. officials try to strike a balance with China, pressing it on economic and human rights issues, while trying to win crucial Chinese support on Iranian and North Korean nuclear standoffs, climate change and other difficult issues.

Read More →

China livid as dissident Liu wins Nobel Peace Prize

Originally published by Reuters, 08 Oct 2010
By Wojciech Moskwa and Ben Blanchard

 OSLO/BEIJING (Reuters) – Jailed Chinese democracy activist Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for two decades of non-violent struggle for human rights, infuriating China, which called the award “an obscenity.”

 The prize shines a spotlight on human rights in China at a time when it is starting to play a leading role on the global stage as a result of its growing economic might.

 “We have to speak when others cannot speak,” Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland told Reuters. “As China is rising, we should have the right to criticize.”

 The award drew muted reactions from the European Union, France, Germany and Britain.

 But last year’s winner, U.S. President Barack Obama, accused China of falling behind on political reforms as its economy surges, and urged it to free Liu Xiaobo as soon as possible.

 Liu Xiaobo rose to prominence as a strike leader during the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989.

 He was sentenced to 11 years’ jail last December for writing a manifesto calling for free speech and multi-party elections.

 The Nobel Committee praised him for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights” and reiterated its belief in a “close connection between human rights and peace.”

Read More →

Chinese dissident hot bet for Nobel Peace Prize

Originally published by Associated Press, 07 Oct 2010
OSLO, Norway – Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo tops speculation for the Nobel Peace Prize — one betting site has already declared him the winner — though some experts expect a more low-key choice on Friday.

Two women are also hot candidates in this year’s Nobel buzz: Afghan women’s rights activist Sima Samar and Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina.

The last woman to win the coveted award was Wangari Maathai of Kenya in 2004. Of the 97 peace laureates to date, only 12 have been women.

Liu, who was sentenced last Christmas Day to 11 years in prison for subversion, has received by far the most attention in the annual guessing-game for the $1.5 million award.

Read More →

Obama urged to address case of human rights prisoners in China

Originally published by The Times of India, 07 Oct 2010

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan group of 29 members of the US House of Representatives has appealed US President Barack Obama to ask his Chinese counterpart to release the prisoners of conscience, especially Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng.

“We write to ask that you urge President Hu (Jintao) to release two emblematic Chinese prisoners conscience, Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng,” the Congressmen said in a letter to Obama, which was released to press by Freedom Now, a Washington-based advocacy group.

“Dr Liu’s detention is symbolic of the Chinese government’s repression of the peaceful freedom of expression of its citizens…. We strongly believe that China must be discouraged from detaining individuals for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression,” the letter said.

Read More →

China’s Wen in Turkey to lure rising economic star

Originally published by AFP,08 Oct 2010

By Hande Culpan (AFP)

 ANKARA — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao geared up for talks with Turkish leaders Friday aimed at strengthening trade with a fast-growing emerging economy that has boosted its political influence in the Middle East.

 The first Chinese premier to visit Turkey in eight years, Wen is to meet Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the capital Ankara.

 The focus will be on business links on what is the fourth and last leg of what has been a stormy European tour overshadowed by a currency dispute.

 The highlight of the talks will be the signing of some 10 agreements on trade, energy, transport, telecoms and culture that analysts say will underscore the two countries’ efforts to develop and diversify their contacts.

 “Turkey is a country that China has recently been targeting and focusing on intensely,” Sedat Laciner from the Ankara-based USAK think-tank, said.

Read More →

Norwegian media tips Chinese dissident for Peace Prize

Originally published by AFP, 07 Oct 2010
 OSLO — A Norwegian television station predicted on Thursday night that the Nobel Peace Prize would most likely go to a Chinese dissident.

 Norwegian commercial television Channel 2, which correctly predicted the long-shot award to US President Barack Obama last year, put jailed democracy activist Liu Xiaobo at the top of its list for likely Peace Prize winners.

 “The most likely (choice) will probably be an imprisoned dissident in China,” the network said in a news report.

 Meanwhile, the president of the committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, told another Norwegian network that for him, the choice of Peace Prize laureate became clear quite early in the process.

Read More →