Liu's kin add to calls on G20 to press Beijing
Pressure is building on Beijing to release jailed Nobel Peace Prize- winner Liu Xiaobo, with Liu's brothers yesterday adding their voices to calls on the Group of 20 leaders to urge President Hu Jintao to release him when they gather next month in Seoul.
Fifteen previous peace laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and former US president Jimmy Carter, have already called for Liu's release. Meanwhile, the mainland media continued its shrill criticism of Liu's selection.
The Foreign Ministry stressed yesterday that Beijing opposed anyone making an issue of Liu's case, saying he was jailed because he violated Chinese law.
The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Liu's brothers, Liu Xiaoguang and Liu Xiaoxuan , believed that a joint call by Hu's fellow G20 leaders for his release would make a difference.
The centre said Liu's younger brother, Xiaoxuan, in Guangzhou, and his older brother, Xiaoguang, in Dalian, Liaoning , were willing to represent him at the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on December 10 if his wife, Liu Xia, is unable to attend.
Liu Xiaoxuan told the South China Morning Post yesterday that they would decide only after visiting Xiaobo next month.
'With the authorities so far not declaring whether they will oppose or support our plan, I don't know what will happen,' he said.
Liu Xiaobo, 54, was jailed for 11 years in December for 'inciting subversion of state power' in what was widely seen as retaliation for his co-authoring a manifesto appealing for political reform and respect for human rights. He won the Nobel prize on October 8, which enraged Beijing.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu was asked to comment on the joint call by the former winners of the prize.
'Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who violated Chinese law,' Ma said. 'China opposes anyone making an issue of this case and objects to anybody who offends our judicial sovereignty.'
State-run newspapers released commentaries on Monday and yesterday defending the 'legal and reasonable conviction' of Liu, saying the criticism that 'Liu was sentenced because of his spoken words' was a misunderstanding of his case and Chinese law. Yesterday's commentary also listed all of Liu's criticisms regarding Chinese people's 'natural inferior quality and servile character' used in evidence against him.