Friday, October 8, 2010

The Dalai Lama's statement regarding Liu Xiaobo

Chinese author Liu Xiaobo, currently in prison, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010. Xiaobo has a long history of confrontation with the Chinese government extending to the democratic uprising of 1989, most dramatically recalled by the protests in Tiananmen Square. In 2009 he was detained by the government for his support of Charter 08, calling for democratic reforms in the People's Republic of China, and is now serving an eleven-year sentence. It is his fourth prison term. The sentence also denies Xiaobo any political rights for a two-year period.

Chinese state representatives have declared that the prize "blasphemes" the intentions of Alfred Nobel and that Xiaobo's "actions run contrary to the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize." His Holiness the Dalai Lama released a statement after the announcement of the award; because of China's rising global prominence, this prize will focus attention on current concerns of individual rights and freedoms inside the Chinese state.

I would like to offer my heart-felt congratulations to Mr. Liu Xiaobo for being awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Awarding the Peace Prize to him is the international community’s recognition of the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms.

I have been personally moved as well as encouraged by the efforts of hundreds of Chinese intellectuals and concerned citizens, including Mr. Liu Xiaobo in signing the Charter 08, which calls for democracy and freedom in China. I expressed my admiration in a public statement on 12 December 2008, two days after it was released and while I was on a visit to Poland. I believe in the years ahead, future generations of Chinese will be able to enjoy the fruits of the efforts that the current Chinese citizens are making towards responsible governance.

I believe that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent comments on freedom of speech being indispensable for any country and people’s wish for democracy and freedom being irresistible are a reflection of the growing yearning for a more open China. Such reforms can only lead to a harmonious, stable and prosperous China, which can contribute greatly to a more peaceful world.

I would like to take this opportunity to renew my call to the government of China to release Mr. Liu Xiaobo and other prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression.

October 8, 2010

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