News / Asia

US Lawmakers Honor Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo

A picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is carried by a protester during a rally demanding his release outside China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, 11 Oct 2010 (file photo)
A picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is carried by a protester during a rally demanding his release outside China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, 11 Oct 2010 (file photo)

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote late Tuesday or Wednesday on a resolution to congratulate Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. A number of Democratic and Republican lawmakers called on the Chinese government to release Liu and all other political and religious detainees from prison.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers and prominent human rights leaders gathered on Capitol Hill Tuesday to honor Liu Xiaobo for his efforts to promote peaceful change in China. Several lawmakers said they were joyous that Liu will be recognized for his lifework, but sad that the spotlight at the award ceremony in Oslo will be on an empty chair. Liu is serving an 11-year prison sentence on subversion charges after co-authoring Charter 08, a manifesto calling for democratic reforms in China. Chinese authorities are holding his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest and will not let her attend the ceremony.

Republican Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia called attention to the fact that Nazi Germany blocked the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Carl von Ossietzky, from attending his award ceremony, while the Soviet Union barred Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov from going in 1975, and Burma's military rulers stopped democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi from attending her award ceremony in 1991.

"China should be ashamed and China should be embarrassed to be in the company of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Burma," Wolf said.

At least 19 countries have announced they will not attend the ceremony on Friday.

Congressman David Wu is a Democrat from Oregon and the first Chinese-American to be elected to the U.S. Congress. He pointed to China's great history and accomplishments, and said it is time for the current government to change course or it will be judged harshly by history.

"By failing to honor the fundamental rights guaranteed by its own constitution, the current Chinese government is not only failing the great Chinese people, it is also failing to live up to China's 5000-year-old history, one of the greatest civilizations in the world," Wu said.

The U.S. lawmakers said Liu represents tens of thousands of Chinese political and religious prisoners who are in prison, labor camps, and who are often tortured, and called on China to release all of them. Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu said he believes this award marks a critical fork in the road for the Chinese government.

"In this moment to nominate a Chinese as a Nobel peace prize winner, that means encourage not only Liu Xiaobo, but many dissidents, many common people, who say, 'Wow, this is a right!  We need our freedom and we need our democracy,'" he said.

Harry Wu also pointed out that President Barack Obama will receive Chinese President Hu Jintao next month, and called on Mr. Obama to take a much tougher stand on human rights abuses in China.

Republican Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey said that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California are planning to attend the Nobel Peace Prize Award ceremony, unless there are major votes in the House of Representatives on Friday.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid