WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 8, 2010) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed H.Res. 1717, a resolution to congratulate imprisoned Chinese democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo on the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Congressman David Wu is an original cosponsor of the resolution and will honor Liu Xiaobo by attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Olso, Norway, on Friday.
“This year the world’s spotlight will shine upon an empty chair at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, underscoring both the universality of the struggle for freedom and the singularity of the Chinese government’s hostile reactions toward Liu Xiaobo’s historic international recognition,” said Wu. “As one of the seven members of Congress who nominated Liu Xiaobo for the Peace Prize, I believe it is my responsibility to stand up for the indigenous voices of change that call for human rights and peaceful reform in China. That is why I have accepted the gracious invitation of the Nobel Committee to attend the award ceremony in Olso.
“By failing to honor the fundamental rights guaranteed in its own constitution, the current Chinese government is not only failing its people; it is also failing to live up to the nation’s 5,000-year-old history as one of the greatest civilizations in the world. It is incumbent upon the current Chinese government to be on the right side of history.”
In December 2008, Liu Xiaobo was detained just before the release of Charter 08, a treatise on political reform that Liu co-authored and that eventually was signed by thousands of Chinese citizens. On December 25, 2009, authorities sentenced Liu to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power,” the longest known sentence for that crime. Liu’s conviction was based on Charter 08 and six essays he wrote. One essay urges a gradual, non-violent approach to pursuing a liberal democracy.
Liu Xiaobo remains in prison, and his wife, Liu Xia, has been placed under de facto house arrest, unable to leave China to accept the Nobel Peace Prize on her husband’s behalf.
Congressman Wu is first Chinese American member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He co-founded the House Global Internet Freedom Caucus and is a member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights and the development of the rule of law in China.