Nobel laureates urge China to release jailed prize winner Liu

BEIJING Tue Dec 4, 2012 7:46pm IST

A visitor stands in front of a photograph of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo carrying a puppet, taken by his wife Liu Xia, during her photo exhibition in Hong Kong June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/Files

A visitor stands in front of a photograph of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo carrying a puppet, taken by his wife Liu Xia, during her photo exhibition in Hong Kong June 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip/Files

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - A group of 134 Nobel laureates including the Dalai Lama and author Toni Morrison have written to Chinese Communist Party chief and president-in-waiting Xi Jinping urging that he release detained Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife.

Liu, a veteran dissident involved in 1989 pro-democracy protests crushed by the Chinese army, won the prize in 2010. He was jailed the year earlier and is serving an 11-year sentence. His wife Liu Xia is under house arrest.

"As you have taken the first step towards assuming the presidency of the People's Republic of China, we write to welcome the prospect of fresh leadership and new ideas," the laureates wrote, in a letter released on Tuesday.

"To that end, we respectfully urge you to release Dr. Liu Xiaobo, the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and his wife, Liu Xia."

The letter was also signed by the likes of South African peace campaigner Desmond Tutu and John Gurdon, joint winner of this year's medicine prize.

The laureates said restricting freedom of thought would have an impact upon creativity in all fields.

"Across all disciplines, the distinguishing feature which led to our recognition as Nobel Laureates is that we have embraced the power of our intellectual freedom and creative inspiration to do our part to advance the human condition."

"No government can restrict freedom of thought and association without having a negative effect on such important human innovation," they wrote.

The laureates noted that President Hu Jintao, during a visit to the United States last year, recognised that much needed to be done in China on human rights.

"While we welcome such honest assessments, we hope that China's new political leadership will move past merely recognising the problem and seize this important opportunity to take concrete steps towards embracing the fundamental rights of all Chinese citizens."

China says that Liu is a criminal and should be treated as such, decrying criticism of the case as unwarranted interference in its internal affairs.

Xi takes over the presidency from Hu at an annual meeting of parliament in March.

The Communist Party, which values stability above all else, brooks no dissent to its rule and has shown no sign of relaxing its grip on power.

(Editing by Robert Birsel)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Korean Boat Tragedy

Family members of a missing passenger onboard the South Korean ferry Sewol which capsized on Wednesday, look at the sea as they wait for news from a rescue team, at a port in Jindo April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Sunken Korea ferry relatives give DNA swabs to help identify dead

Relatives of some of the more than 200 children missing in a sunken South Korean ferry offered DNA swabs on Saturday to help identify the dead as a rescue turned into a mission to recover the vessel and the bodies of those on board.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ferry Disaster

Ferry Disaster

Vice-principal of South Korea school in ferry disaster commits suicide.  Full Article 

Everest Avalanche

Everest Avalanche

Avalanche kills 12 guides in deadliest incident on Mount Everest.  Full Article 

Turkey Politics

Turkey Politics

Turkish president rules out role swap with Erdogan.  Full Article 

Mexico Earthquake

Mexico Earthquake

Powerful earthquake rattles Mexico, shakes buildings.  Full Article 

Missing Plane

Missing Plane

Drone risks damage at record depth in search for Malaysian plane.  Full Article 

Papal Message

Papal Message

Pope Good Friday service underscores plight of the suffering.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage