Obama to urge China to release Liu Xiaobo

US Prez would urge China to release Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is this year`s Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Washington: US President Barack Obama
would urge China to release eminent Chinese dissident Liu
Xiaobo, who is this year`s Nobel Peace Prize winner, the White
House has said.

Amidst strong protest by Beijing, Chinese democracy
activist Wuer Kaixi is likely to collect Nobel award in the
absence of Liu at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway today.

As many as 19 countries are not attending the awards
ceremony including Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"When he was awarded the Nobel Prize, the president
was among the very few who put out a statement both
congratulating him and calling on China to release him. The
President will release his statement reiterating that
tomorrow," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

US Ambassador to Norway Barry White will attend the
Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony today, reaffirming the
importance that the United States places on the Nobel award.

"I think we`re there showing support for the (Nobel)
committee`s decision. We were the previous recipient of that
prestigious award," Gibbs said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US
continues to encourage the Chinese to open up their own
political space for greater exchange of opinions and advocacy
of ideas.

"We raise human rights in every meeting that we have
between the United States and China, and we will continue to
do so," she said.

"We urge China to uphold its international human
rights work obligations and to respect the fundamental
freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens. And we
continue to call for Liu`s immediate release," State
Department spokesman, P J Crowley, told reporters at his daily
news briefing.

"We welcome the committee`s decision to award the
peace prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and Liu`s
courageous advocacy for political reform and fundamental
freedoms, including his role in the drafting of Charter 08,
deserve our admiration," Crowley said.