US calls on China to release Liu Xiaobo


Wed, Dec 11, 2013 - Page 6

Five years after his detention, the US is calling for the release of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) and an end to his wife’s undeclared house arrest

Washington remains deeply concerned about the couple’s treatment, along with that of other jailed government critics, US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

“We strongly urge Chinese authorities to release Liu Xiaobo, to end [his wife] Liu Xia’s (劉霞) house arrest, and to guarantee to Liu Xiaobo and his family members all internationally recognized human rights protections and freedoms,” Kerry said in a statement issued on Monday in Washington.

“As the United States builds a constructive relationship with China, US leaders will continue to raise concerns related to respect for the rule of law, human rights, religious freedom and democratic principles with their Chinese counterparts,” Kerry said.

Detained on Dec. 8, 2008, Liu Xiaobo was in 2009 convicted of subversion and sentenced to 11 years in prison for penning an appeal for democracy. He was awarded the peace prize in 2010.

Kerry’s statement underscored a desire to be seen as active on Chinese human rights in the face of critics who say the issue is being downgraded because of the US’ desire for strong trade ties and Chinese support on knotty diplomatic issues with Syria and Iran.