Rights Activists Urge China to Release Nobel Laureate

Posted December 8th, 2011 at 11:55 pm (UTC-5)
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International rights groups have called on China to release imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo almost a year after he received the award.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued statements Thursday noting that Liu has remained in prison since he received the prize in absentia on December 10, while his wife Liu Xia has been under house arrest.

Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for allegedly inciting subversion of state power after he published a manifesto for democratic changes in China. Rights groups say this is a charge often used to eliminate dissenters.

Amnesty's Asia-Pacific deputy director Catherine Baber said the increasingly powerful police and security forces in China act with impunity as they hold individuals beyond legal supervision, often torturing and ill-treating them.

Sophie Richardson, China Director for Human Rights Watch in New York, said it is time for China to make progress on individual human rights cases. She said visiting leaders who fail to rebuke Chinese leaders on their indefensible treatment of human rights defenders allow Beijing to conclude there is no price to be paid for violations.

The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China heard a series of witnesses Tuesday to mark Liu's award ceremony, which he was not able to attend.

Among the experts testifying at the hearing were Princeton University professor of Asian Studies Perry Link, founder of ChinaAid Association pastor Bob Fu, President of the National Endowment for Democracy Carl Gresham, and independent scholar and rights activist Li Xiaorong.