Obama to urge China to release Liu Xiaobo
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Last Updated: Friday, December 10, 2010, 09:48
  
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.

PTI


First Published: Friday, December 10, 2010, 09:48


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