Statement of CECC Chairman Byron Dorgan and Cochairman Sander Levin Congratulating Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo

Congressional-Executive Commission on China |

Statement of CECC Chairman Byron Dorgan and Cochairman Sander Levin Congratulating Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo

December 10, 2010

(Washington, DC)—Today we congratulate imprisoned Chinese writer and democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. For his more than two decades of advocating for freedom of speech, assembly, religion, peaceful democratic reform, transparency, and accountability in China, Mr. Liu currently is serving an 11-year sentence in a Chinese prison for "inciting subversion of state power." Those in China, like Mr. Liu, who advocate for peaceful reform seek to advance debate on good governance, human rights, and the rule of law. Their commitment and contribution to their country must be recognized, as the Nobel Committee has done, and their rights must be protected. Unfortunately, the extraordinary measures that Chinese authorities have taken to stop Chinese citizens from publicly expressing support for Liu and to prevent Liu's friends and family from attending today's ceremony in Oslo, show the world the Chinese government's clear failure to implement the rule of law and to protect human rights that are provided under China's Constitution and laws, and under China's international human rights obligations. Authorities reportedly have rounded up or silenced Mr. Liu's supporters in China, blocked unauthorized references to Liu on the Internet, and prevented leading Chinese scholars and lawyers from boarding international flights for fear they might attend today's ceremony. Chinese authorities’ relentless harassment of Liu Xia, Mr. Liu's wife, continues. She has been kept virtually incommunicado under what appears to be house arrest for weeks, since just after the Nobel Committee announced in October that her husband would receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This is not the behavior of a strong, responsible government. As Liu Xia said the morning the Nobel Committee announced that her husband would receive the Nobel Peace Prize, "China's new status in the world comes with increased responsibility. China should embrace this responsibility, have pride in his selection, and release him from prison." Today, December 10, is also Human Rights Day, established by the United Nations to celebrate human rights defenders around the world. It seems most appropriate to mark Human Rights Day this year by recalling the words of China's new Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo himself, in his final statement on the day of his sentencing:

"I look forward to when my country is a land with freedom of expression; where every citizen's speech will be treated equally well; where different values, ideas, beliefs, and political views ... can compete with one another and coexist peacefully; ... where all political views will be spread out under the sun for the people to choose from; where every citizen can express political views without fear; and where under no circumstances can one suffer political persecution for expressing different political views."

Additional CECC Resources on Liu Xiaobo: