Washington, D.C. (October 8, 2010) – The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo last week prompted American leaders to praise the Nobel Committee for its decision and to Mr. Liu for his passionate fight for improved democracy in China. The White House Office of the Press Secretary said that President Obama welcomed the news, adding that it was on his mind when he received the Nobel Prize in 2009 that so many others have sacrificed so much and go unrecognized.
“That list now includes Mr. Liu, who has sacrificed his freedom for his beliefs,” Obama stated. “By granting the prize to Mr. Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
“As I said last year in Oslo, even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal to all human beings,” said Obama. “Over the last 30 years, China has 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. We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.
U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi also commented, noting that in 2009, Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power” after he authored Charter 08, an online petition by Chinese citizens calling on the Chinese government to improve its policies on democracy and human rights.
“As this year’s recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiaobo joins the pantheon of great leaders for non-violence, justice, and freedom throughout history,” Pelosi stated.
“Liu Xiaobo is a champion for the best hopes of humankind, a courageous advocate for democracy and human rights in China, whose only crime was putting his political views into writing,” she added. “His message of reform is an inspiration to the entire world. He and fellow activists deserve the attention and partnership of freedom-loving people everywhere.
“I continue to call for Liu Xiaobo’s immediate and unconditional release, and for the Chinese government to adhere to its own constitution and respect the rights of the Chinese people.”
U.S. Congressman David Wu (OR-1st), said he was delighted to wake to the news that Liu Xiaobo had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
“In February of this year, I joined six of my congressional colleagues in nominating Liu Xiaobo for the prize because of his longstanding non-violent struggle to stand up for the fundamental rights of his fellow citizens,” stated Wu. “Mr. Liu’s impassioned work to give voice to the voiceless and to sacrifice his own freedom in the fight for freedom in China underscores the unyielding courage that befits the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Congressman Wu is the co-founder of the House Global Internet Freedom Caucus and a member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights and the development of the rule of law in China.
“Liu Xiaobo’s recognition as a Nobel Peace laureate should serve as a wake-up call to the Chinese government to be a responsible player in the international community and to uphold the human rights guaranteed under its own constitution and international law,” he added. “China should release Liu Xiaobo immediately.”