TLHRC Co-Chairs: Liu Xiaobo Should Never Have Been Imprisoned
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Randy Hultgren and James P. McGovern, Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, issued the following statement on the medical parole of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate and Defending Freedoms Project prisoner of conscience Liu Xiaobo.
“This week we received the news that Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese scholar and human rights leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, was released from prison in China on medical parole after a diagnosis of late stage liver cancer.
“We welcome his release, but Liu Xiaobo should never have been imprisoned. His ‘crime’ was to exercise his fundamental human right to freedom of expression by helping to draft Charter 08 calling for peaceful democratic reform and respect for human rights and the rule of law in China. For this, he was charged with ‘incitement to subvert state power’ and sentenced to 11 years. He has been held incommunicado since 2008.
“Liu Xiaobo was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in May of this year. It is not known if he received any medical treatment in prison. The denial of medical treatment to detained persons is considered a form of torture.
“We understand that Liu Xiaobo is now receiving medical treatment in a hospital outside of prison. But he cannot freely meet with friends and family, and the Chinese government has refused requests by his family to transfer him to Beijing for treatment. That is barbaric.
“Liu Xiaobo must be allowed to choose his place of treatment, whether in China or abroad, without conditions. He must also be allowed to reunite with his wife, who has been under house arrest since 2010.
“In its treatment of Liu Xiaobo, China has violated its international human rights obligations and revealed its profound moral weakness. The fate of Liu Xiaobo is in China’s hands. The world is watching.”