Washington: More than 100 leading scholars,
writers and human rights advocates from around the world have
asked the National People`s Congress (NPC) of China to
immediately and unconditionally release dissident leader Liu
A long-time critic of the government, Liu was sentenced
in December 2009 to 11 years in prison for publication of six
political essays and for his role in the drafting of Charter
08, a petition calling for the rule of law and respect for
human rights in China.
"Imprisoning Liu Xiaobo for his criticism of the
government is a stain on China`s reputation and standing in
the world," Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human
Rights Watch said. "Instead of punishing and making an example
of Liu, the Chinese government should address the concerns
expressed in Charter 08", he added.
The letter has been sent to NPC, China`s only legislative
house which is currently holding its annual plenary meeting,
attended by more than 3,000 delegates.
By law, the NPC has the power "to supervise the
enforcement of the Constitution," which formally guarantees
Chinese citizens freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly,
of association, of procession and of demonstration.