U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stands next to a photo of Chinee rights activist Liu Xiaobo, at the Nobel Peace Center and Museum today following the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony at Oslo City Hall. Liu was notably absent from the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Liu was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize but remains imprisoned in China for is rights work. His spouse was under house arrest and not allowed to accept on his behalf. (Contributed photo)
AAP staff report
Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2010) – This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, who last year 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.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony last week in Oslo, Norway, as part of the official delegation on behalf of Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia. Pelosi has been a longstanding advocate for human rights around the world and specifically in China and Tibet.
Pelosi traveled to China in May 2009 and presented a letter asking for the release of Liu Xiaobo and others imprisoned in China. The House of Representatives last week passed a resolution to congratulate Liu Xiaobo on the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
“I am pleased to join with the international community in congratulating Liu Xiaobo as the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize,” Pelosi said. “In passing the House resolution yesterday, the American government sent a clear message of support for individuals who stand for non-violence, justice, democratic freedoms and the defense of fundamental human rights.
“As a courageous advocate of peaceful political change, Liu Xiaobo’s message of reform is an inspiration to the entire world,” she added. “In the resolution passed this week, the House of Representatives called for his immediate and unconditional release from prison in China.”
President Barack Obama spoke of this incredible honor from Washington. He stated that he was humbled a year ago to receive the Nobel Peace Prize – an award he said speaks to our highest aspirations, and claimed by giants of history and courageous advocates who have sacrificed for freedom and justice.
“Mr. Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was,” said Obama.
The President said that we all have a responsibility to build a just peace that recognizes inherent rights and dignity of human beings. These are truths that are upheld within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights he added.
“In our own lives, our own countries, and in the world, the pursuit of a just peace remains incomplete, even as we strive for progress,” he added.
In the past year past Nobel Laureates Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest even as the Burmese people continue to be denied the democracy that they deserve. He said Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta continues his tireless work to build a free and prosperous East Timor, having made the transition from dissident to President.
Only recently retired, Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu is another career which demonstrates the universal power of freedom and justice to overcome extraordinary obstacles.
“The rights of human beings are universal – they do not belong to one nation, region or faith,” said Obama. “America respects the unique culture and traditions of different countries.”
Obama said that America can respect China’s extraordinary accomplishment in lifting millions out of poverty, and at the same time believe that human rights include the dignity that comes with freedom from want.
“But Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law,” he added. “The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible. I regret that Mr. Liu and his wife were denied the opportunity to attend the ceremony that Michelle and I attended last year. Today, on what is also International Human Rights Day, we should redouble our efforts to advance universal values for all human beings.”
December 7, 2010: Floor speech in support of a resolution congratulating Liu Xiaobo on the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
October 8, 2010: Statement on the announcement of Liu Xiaobo as the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
December 25, 2009: Statement in response to the decision by Chinese authorities to sentence Liu Xiaobo to eleven years in prison.
October 1, 2009: Congress passed a resolution calling for China to release Liu Xiaobo from imprisonment.
June 24, 2009: Statement in response to the arrest of Liu Xiaobo on the criminal charge of “inciting subversion of state power.”
June 3, 2009: Floor speech in support of the Tiananmen Square resolution and a May 2009 letter to the Honorable Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China, on the release of certain individuals detained or imprisoned in China.