Sat, 08 Dec 2012 02:14:33 GMT

US asks China to respect human rights; free Nobel peace winner

From Lalit K Jha
Washington, Dec 7 (PTI) Expressing concern over the "deteriorating" human rights situation in China, the US has asked Beijing to respect and implement long-standing and internationally recognised fundamental freedoms.

"We remain concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in China, including the Chinese governments continued use of arrests, convictions, forced disappearances, and extralegal detentions of human rights activists," said National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden.

"We continue to urge China to respect and implement long-standing and internationally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms," she said in response to a question.

She was asked yesterday whether President Barack Obama was signatory to a letter by Nobel laureates to new Chinese leader Xi Jinping, calling for the release of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

"While the President was not a signatory to this specific letter, our views on human rights have been made very clear.
This Administration has regularly raised the case of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo with senior Chinese officials," she said.

"We repeatedly urge Chinese authorities to release Liu Xiaobo immediately and to guarantee Liu and his wife the protections and freedoms to which they are entitled under China''s international human rights commitments," she said.

A day earlier, 134 Nobel Laureates across all six Nobel disciplines wrote to Xi, urging him to immediately and unconditionally release Liu and his wife Liu Xia.

Liu Xia has been under house arrest since shortly after the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced her husband''s selection as the Peace Prize Laureate for 2010.

The letter was released by the International Committee for Liu Xiaobo, which is comprised of six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and 15 non-governmental organizations.

"I hope that the Chinese authorities appreciate the diversity of extraordinary achievement represented by the Nobel Laureates who have written to them today," said Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

"Our effort is not to embarrass China but rather to implore the government to take a different approach that would help China develop in the best way for all its people," he noted.

"By releasing Liu and Liu Xia, China can demonstrate its strength and show that it is not fearful of those who seek dialogue about the most effective ways to reform its government," Richard Roberts said.

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