News / Asia

China Defends Imprisonment of Nobel Winner

The picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is carried by a protester demanding the release of Liu Xiaobo outside the China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, October 11, 2010.
The picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is carried by a protester demanding the release of Liu Xiaobo outside the China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, October 11, 2010.
VOA News
China has dismissed an appeal by a group of prominent Nobel laureates who want Beijing to free imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo.

The group of 134 Nobel laureates sent an open letter Tuesday to Communist Party chief Xi Jinping, asking him to "immediately and unconditionally release" Liu, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for inciting subversion.

Official reaction

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters Wednesday that the letter represents an interference in China's internal affairs.

"China is a law-abiding country. Liu Xiaobo was lawfully sentenced to a fixed-term imprisonment by the judicial organ because he committed an offense against Chinese law," he said. "The Chinese government opposes outsiders handling matters in any way that would interfere in its judicial sovereignty and internal matters."

When asked what specific law Liu violated, Hong refused to comment.

Chinese authorities sentenced the 56-year-old Liu to prison in 2009 on subversion charges related to his co-authoring of "Charter 08," a manifesto calling for political reforms and greater rights in Communist-ruled China.

After he won the Peace Prize in 2010, authorities placed his wife Liu Xia under house arrest before she could accept the prize in his place. She has not been publicly charged with a crime.

Letter to Xi Jinping

The letter, which was signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, said the release of Liu and his wife would be an "essential first step" toward embracing the fundamental rights of Chinese citizens. The Nobel laureates warned that no government can restrict freedom of thought and association without hindering its development.

Many of those involved in the project were skeptical that Beijing would take any immediate action to improve Liu's situation. Emmanouil Athanasiou of the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo said that China cannot deny responsibility for holding a Nobel prize winner in detention.

"Whatever China says, today it's the only country in the world having a Nobel Peace Prize laureate behind bars. And this is an unacceptable situation. Legally, politically, and morally," said Athanasiou.

Nobel literature winner Mo Yan

Meanwhile, China's Nobel literature winner Mo Yan, who enjoys the support of the Communist Party, is headed Wednesday for Sweden to collect his award. Mo surprised some of his critics in October when he called for the release of Liu Xiaobo.

State media reported this week that Mo would be accompanied by a delegation of government officials on his trip to Stockholm, causing some to wonder whether Beijing feared he would make controversial remarks in his acceptance speech.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei expressed confidence in Mo on Wednesday, saying he "loves his country and his people" and that he hopes the trip to Sweden for the acceptance of the prize "goes smoothly."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NYC
December 07, 2012 10:50 AM
Free Liu Xiaobo and all political prisoners in China, Tibet & Xinjiang. Democracy & human rights for China. End the CCP one-party dictatorship and let the Chinese people govern China, not the elite corrupt CCP regime.

by: Anonymous
December 06, 2012 5:06 AM
democracy, reunification, freedom, civilization and nice China

by: Chin Yi from: USA
December 06, 2012 4:58 AM
" Hong Lei told reporters Wednesday that the letter represents an interference in China's internal affairs. " Communist dogs always use that word and they know only that word and express from their one side. What are the " Tibet Invading, South China Sea, and Map in Chinese PassPort? It's not relate to Internal affairs of somebody else?

In Response

by: Anonymous
December 07, 2012 12:05 AM
believe me ,it is.

by: Sun from: Taipei
December 06, 2012 3:55 AM
"Whatever China says, today it's the only country in the world having a Nobel Peace Prize laureate behind bars. And this is an unacceptable situation. Legally, politically, and morally," ---- I completely agree with this comment.

by: Trish Dawson from: Portland, OR
December 05, 2012 1:51 PM
Where is the political, social and economic progress of reform in this decision? Freedom of speech and the right to practice personal forms of religion are cornerstones of freedom and I still boycot all free trade with China as long as China refuses to free Tibetian citzens and political prisoners!

by: bt
December 05, 2012 10:17 AM
"China is a law-abiding country"
I used to live there for four years, believe me; it is NOT!
In Response

by: yy from: china
December 05, 2012 9:03 PM
u r wrong

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs