Smith, Pelosi Resolution to Help Human Rights Giant Liu Xiaobo Passes House
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 67, calling on the People’s Republic of China to unconditionally release Liu Xiaobo and, with his wife Liu Xia, allow them to freely meet with family and seek medical treatment overseas if necessary. Liu Xiaobo, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, was in the midst of serving an 11 year sentence when he was diagnosed with liver cancer that had metastasized throughout his body.
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), co-Chairman of the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC), and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, also urges the Administration to assist in gaining Liu Xiaobo and his wife humanitarian transfer so that they can get treatments in the United States if they desire. Liu Xia has been detained under “house arrest” since 2010 and has been hospitalized for a heart condition.
“The Chinese state media says he is irrelevant, however the Chinese authorities have gone to great lengths to stifle Liu Xiaobo’s ability to speak truth to power,” said Smith. “In 2009, Liu was given 11 years in prison for ‘inciting subversion of state power.’ His wife Liu Xia was also detained in de facto form ‘house arrest’ since 2010.
“According to Chinese authorities, Liu’s conviction was based on Charter 08, a treatise signed by over 300 intellectuals and activists. That document states that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind, and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.”
“Liu Xiaobo is a hero who stands in the pantheon of great leaders for non-violence, justice and freedom throughout history,” said Pelosi. “His arrest and imprisonment are a disgraceful betrayal of the rule of law and China’s own constitution, but his courage throughout his persecution and imprisonment has been an inspiration to the world. The Chinese authorities must immediately and unconditionally provide Liu access to his family and to his lawyers. Liu must be allowed to receive the best possible medical care, wherever he wishes to receive it, in China or elsewhere. We also reiterate our call for Chinese officials to release all activists imprisoned for exercising their human rights, including Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, who unjustly remains under house arrest.”
Liu was allowed to leave prison on Monday and transferred to a Chinese hospital. According reports from Liu’s family, the Chinese government refused to allow him to seek treatment in Beijing.
“I believe that someday China will be free,” said Smith. “Someday, the people of China will be able to enjoy all of their God-given rights. And a nation of free Chinese men and women will honor and celebrate Liu Xiaobo as a hero. He will be honored along with all others like him who have sacrificed so much, and so long, for freedom.”
As Chair of the CECC and the Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, Smith has held multiple hearings on Liu Xiaobo’s championing of democracy, his arrest and later sentencing for “inciting subversion,” including an event on the five year anniversary of Dr. Liu receiving the Nobel Peace Prize where Smith pledged that the U.S. Congress “will not forget [Liu Xiaobo or his wife Liu Xia]—regardless of the circumstances—or how uncomfortable it makes the Chinese government.”