Friday, December 25, 2009

State Department Decries The Conviction Of Chinese Dissident

The U.S. State Department is expressing its concern over the Christmas Day conviction in Beijing of prominent Chinese author and democratic reformer Liu Xiaobo on charges of "inciting suberversion of state power.

Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

"The United States was deeply concerned" to learn of Liu's conviction, said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

"We also were concerned that requests by Mr. Liu’s wife, the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic missions to attend the trial were denied. Punishing people for peacefully expressing their political views violates the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed."

Liu has already spent a year in detention as the Chinese authorities investigate the case.

"As we have expressed repeatedly, we call on the government of China to release him immediately and to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens to peacefully express their political views," Toner said.

Liu has served as president of Independent Chinese PEN Center since 2003. He was arrested last December after joining more than 300 Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists in signing a manifesto promoting political reform and democratization in China.

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