2010/10/08

Dalai Lama urges release of Nobel winning China dissident

DHARAMSHALA, October  8, 2010 (AFP) - Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama demanded Friday the immediate release of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo after he was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Dalai Lama, the 1989 Nobel peace laureate, said the Nobel committee's choice reflected international recognition of "the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms".

In a statement from Dharamshala, the seat of his government-in-exile in northern India, the Tibetan leader pressed China for the immediate release of Liu and "other prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression".

Liu, 54, was last December sentenced to 11 years behind bars for subversion, following the 2008 release of "Charter 08", a manifesto for reform signed by more than 300 Chinese intellectuals, academics and writers.

The Dalai Lama said he had been "personally moved" by the bravery of the Charter's signatories.
"I believe in the years ahead, future generations of Chinese will be able to enjoy the fruits of the efforts that the current Chinese citizens are making towards responsible governance," he added.

China was incensed when the Dalai Lama, regarded by Beijing as a dangerous separatist, was given the 1989 Peace Prize, and was equally vocal on Friday saying the Nobel committee had "blasphemed the award" by choosing Liu.

The Dalai Lama favours meaningful autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule, but Beijing accuses him of inciting unrest with a hidden pro-independence agenda. Decades of on-off negotiations with China have made no tangible progress.