Freedom House Lauds Nobel Honor for Liu Xiaobo | Freedom House

Freedom House Lauds Nobel Honor for Liu Xiaobo

Washington

Freedom House today hailed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese democratic dissident Liu Xiaobo. 

“Liu Xiaobo is a man of unique courage.  His intelligence, persistence in the face of repression, and commitment to democratic values stand him in the great tradition of political dissent,” said David J. Kramer, Freedom House executive director.  “Like Walesa, Sakharov, and Mandela, Liu has refused to sacrifice his ideals in the face of overwhelming state oppression.”
 
For the past two decades, Liu has been an important participant in the movement for democratic change in China.  He was jailed after the 1989 massacre of democracy activists in Tiananmen Square and later served a stint in a reeducation camp.  Arrested on Christmas in 2008, he is currently serving an 11-year sentence for his role in the preparation of “Charter ’08,” a statement that called for broad democratic reforms in China.  That document has been signed by more than 8,000 people.  Liu is only the second Peace Prize winner to have been honored while in prison.
 
Freedom House took special note of the Chinese government’s campaign to persuade the Nobel Committee against honoring Liu.  “The world should be aware of the regime’s tactics of bullying and intimidation in its dealings with the prize committee,” Kramer said.  “It’s noteworthy that their tactics included thinly-veiled threats to take economic reprisals against the Norwegian government should Liu Xiaobo be honored.  This behavior is part of a pattern of Chinese pressure against foreign media and cultural organizations, as well as foreign governments, and we commend the Nobel Committee for its steadfastness.”

Kramer also praised Vaclav Havel and former Archbishop Desmond Tutu for their role in spearheading a public campaign to promote Liu as the honoree. 

“Liu Xiaobo richly deserves this award as an example of dignified bravery,” Kramer said. “But this award also stands as a testament to the importance of the democratic movement in China—recognition, I would emphasize, that is much overdue.  At this special moment, we should keep in mind that there are many dissident intellectuals, independent journalists, crusading lawyers, and human rights activists languishing in Chinese prisons.  This award would take on special relevance if it drew notice to their plight and to the plight of all those in China who have taken the risk to call for a government that heeds the will of the people.”

China is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.

For more information on China, visit:

Freedom in the World 2010: China
 
Freedom of the Press 2010: China

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.  
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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