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Obama urges China to free Nobel laureate Liu
London/ Beijang, Oct 9 (IANS/DPA):
Published on 9 Oct. 2010 9:30 PM IST
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US President Barack Obama has called on China to free Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, a media report said Saturday.
The 54-year-old activist was sentenced last year to 11 years in prison for subversion. Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, sparking a furious diplomatic row as China accused the Norwegian awards committee of honouring a “criminal”, reported. Chinese authorities denounced the award as an “obscenity” and warned it would damage ties between the two countries.
President Obama, who won the award last year, said he “welcomed” the decision to award the prize to Liu.
“Last year, I noted that so many others who have received the award had sacrificed so much more than I,” he said.
“That list now includes Liu, who has sacrificed his freedom for his beliefs.”
“We call on the Chinese government to release Liu as soon as possible,” he said.
He noted that China had made “dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty”. “But 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,” he added.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been “degraded to a political tool that serves an anti-China purpose” and is an attempt “to impose Western values on China”, an editorial in a Chinese daily said after a leading political dissident was awarded the prestigious prize.
The Global Times, an English language newspaper that targets expats and the outside world, said in an editorial Saturday that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to, “an incarcerated Chinese”.
“The Nobel committee once again displayed its arrogance and prejudice against a country that has made the most remarkable economic and social progress in the past three decades.
“The Nobel Prize has been generally perceived as a prestigious award in China, but many Chinese feel the peace prize is loaded with Western ideology,” the editorial said.
Jailed Chinese dissident and writer Liu Xiaobo was unanimously chosen for his long-standing struggle for human rights in China. Liu authored Charter 08, a political manifesto similar to the Charter 77 of one-time Czech dissidents. He is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for inciting subversion of state power in China. The editorial stated that in the last century the prize was awarded several times to “pro-West advocates in the former Soviet Union, including Mikhail Gorbachev, whose efforts directly led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The Western preference of the Nobel committee did not disappear with the end of the Cold War”.
Continuing its scathing criticism, the newspaper said: “The (Norwegian Nobel) committee continues to deny China’s development by making paranoid choices.
“In 1989, the Dalai Lama, a separatist, won the prize. Liu Xiaobo, the new winner, wants to copy Western political systems in China.”
Nobel laureate’s wife forced to leave Beijing
Chinese police have forced the wife of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo to leave Beijing and are believed to have taken her to the northeastern city of Jinzhou, where her husband is imprisoned, reports said Saturday.
“(The police) are sitting there waiting for me to get my things together,” US-based Radio Free Asia quoted Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, as saying late Friday.
Liu Xia told the broadcaster that the police said they planned to take her to Jinzhou but she was worried that she could be held under house arrest at another place outside Beijing.
“They said I could see him (Liu Xiaobo) tomorrow,” Liu Xia was quoted as saying.
Dissident Wang Jinbo also quoted Liu Xiaobo’s brother as saying Liu Xia was en route to the prison in Jinzhou “in the company of the police”.
Liu Xia was expected to arrive in Jinzhou Saturday morning, accompanied by her brother, Wang reported on his Twitter feed.
Wang is a friend of Liu Xia and travelled with her in July on one of the four prison visits she made to Jinzhou since Liu Xiaobo was transferred there in May.
On her Twitter account late Thursday, Liu Xia said she had rejected police efforts to persuade her to travel to Jinzhou, which is about 500 km from Beijing, before Friday’s announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize.

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