- Title: JAPAN / CHINA: Japan says release of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner desirable
- Date: 15th October 2010
- Summary: KAN SITTING DOWN BEIJING, CHINA (OCTOBER 14, 2010) (REUTERS) BARRIERS OUTSIDE LIU XIAOBO'S RESIDENTIAL COMPOUND VARIOUS OF SECURITY RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS EXTERIOR OF LIU'S RESIDENTIAL COMPOUND
- Embargoed: 30th October 2010 13:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA5LL84P0F66E1D9P1HS0RFXQ5Y
- Story Text: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Thursday (October 14) a release of Liu Xiaobo, jailed Chinese democracy activist and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is desirable, but avoided direct criticism of the world's second largest economy.
"I think a release of Mr. Liu Xiaobo is desirable and this is a clear will," said Kan during a parliamentary debate in Tokyo.
"I am sure that the Chinese government will hear this statement as it being announced in the parliament," he added.
Liu won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 8 for two decades of non-violent struggle for human rights, infuriating China, which called the award "an obscenity".
The prize shines a spotlight on human rights in China at a time when it is starting to play a leading role on the global stage as a result of its growing economic might.
"I believe it is crucial that a universal value such as human rights and fundamental freedom to be guaranteed in China," said Kan.
The award drew muted reactions from the European Union, France, Germany and Britain.
But last year's winner, U.S. President Barack Obama, accused China of falling behind on political reforms as its economy surges, and urged it to free Liu as soon as possible.
Liu rose to prominence as a strike leader during the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989.
He was sentenced to 11 years' jail last December for writing a manifesto calling for free speech and multi-party elections.
The Nobel Committee praised him for his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights" and reiterated its belief in a "close connection between human rights and peace".
China, which had warned against giving the prize to Liu, summoned Norway's ambassador to protest.
Liu's wife Liu Xia is under house arrest. A new barrier was erected in front of her apartment in western Beijing on Thursday, and journalists waiting outside have been asked to stay far away from the entrance.
Diplomats from the European Union as well as Australia and Switzerland unsuccessfully tried to visit Liu Xia in her apartment on Monday (October 11).
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