News / USA

    US Lawmaker Calls to Rename Street in Front of Chinese Embassy

    FILE - A 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, Oct. 11, 2010.
    FILE - A 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, Oct. 11, 2010.
    Yang Chen

    U.S. Representative Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, is calling on his congressional colleagues to vote on a bill to rename the street address of China's embassy in Washington to 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza, after the imprisoned Nobel Peace laureate.

    The Senate in February unanimously passed a similar bill — introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a presidential candidate — but companion legislation in the House remains active.

    McGovern, who co-chairs the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, says colleagues should put it to a vote if China doesn't release Liu, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for inciting state subversion after organizing a 2008 petition to end China's one-party rule.

    "If the Chinese government thinks it can just jail everybody and everybody will just forget about it, they are wrong," he told VOA's Mandarin Service. "That's why the legislation that would rename that street in front of the Chinese embassy would pass."

    The White House has indicated that President Barack Obama would veto the bill if passed by both houses of Congress.

    "If the president wants to veto it, he can, but I think there is an overwhelming number of Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate that might override that veto," McGovern said.

    It's not clear if or when the House of Representatives might vote on the bill.

    The State Department says that although the White House continues to press China on human rights issues, the bill would complicate efforts to release political prisoners such as Liu.

    "We do not believe Senator Cruz's tactic to rename a street in Washington, D.C., is a very effective way to achieve either goal," said Mark Toner, deputy spokesperson of the State Department. "We view this kind of legislative action as something that really complicates our efforts. So we oppose this approach."

    China's foreign ministry warned of "serious consequences" should the plaza be renamed after the pro-democracy dissident, calling the move a violation of "basic norms of international relations."

    Produced in collaboration with VOA's Mandarin Service.

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Shuang
    March 04, 2016 7:32 AM
    Every country should mind their own business. Let them fight, whoever is strong that party win the race. Jealousy is very bad.
    In Response

    by: American Eskimo from: San Jose, USA
    March 04, 2016 12:00 PM
    The award of Nobel Peace Prize is political motivated. The West is trying every way it can to embarrass China. Naming of a street where the Chinese Embassy is a LOW BLOW. Liu is in China house, he shall obeys the house rules there and not calling for political reform. Each house has their own rules, it may be totally OK to piss in the corner of a room in your house but it will not be kosher next door.
    In Response

    by: Wangchuk from: NY
    March 04, 2016 10:17 AM
    Liu Xiaobo was imprisoned for 11 years merely for authoring Charter 08 calling for political reform in China. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. There are thousands of Chinese, Tibetan & Uighur dissidents in Chinese jails merely for speaking their mind. Liu is probably the most prominent. If the CCP doesn't want the street outside their DC Embassy renamed, they should release Liu Xiaobo. Human rights are more important than govt pride.

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