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.