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A Chinese Champion of Peace and Freedom

PRAGUE – On Christmas Day last year, one of China’s best-known human rights activists, the writer and university professor Liu Xiaobo, was condemned to 11 years in prison. Liu is one of the main drafters of Charter 08, a petition inspired by Czechoslovakia’s Charter 77, calling on the Chinese government to adhere to its own laws and constitution, and demanding the open election of public officials, freedom of religion and expression, and the abolition of “subversion” laws.

For his bravery and clarity of thought about China’s future, Liu deserves the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. There are two reasons why we believe that Liu would be a worthy recipient of that prestigious award.

First and foremost, he stands in the tradition of Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have been recognized for their contribution to the struggle for human rights. Nobel laureates such as Martin Luther King, Lech Walesa, and Aung San Suu Kyi are but a few of the many examples that the Nobel Committee has recognized in previous years.

We are convinced that the concepts that Liu and his colleagues put down on paper in December 2008 are both universal and timeless. These ideals – respect for human rights and human dignity, and the responsibility of citizens to ensure that their governments respect those rights – represent humanity’s highest aspirations.