Today (December 28, 2010) is the 55th birthday of Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), 2010 Peace Prize Nobel Laureate kept in prison by the Chinese government because of his criticism of their repressive policies. Liu Xiaobo is a prominent independent Chinese intellectual and long-time advocate of political reform and human rights in China. He is the most prominent “Charter ‘08” signatory. He was awarded the Peace Prize for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China," as stated by the Nobel Committee.
You may join the campaign to free Liu Xiaobo HERE
Cuba, China and North Korean are among the very few countries in the world where citizens who dare to challenge or even criticize government policies are practically kidnapped inside their countries. Their governments even use them for ransom that would benefit their political goals. Furthermore, prisoners of conscience in Cuba are often forced to exile in exchange for their freedom.
Only Hitler had previously prevented a Peace Prize winner and anyone else among his family and friends in Germany from attending this annual ceremony in Oslo. Andrei Sakharov and Lech Walesa were also prevented to receive the Peace Prize by the Soviet Union and Poland respectively, but at least close relatives were allowed to attend. In addition, China exerted huge pressure on many countries demanding them not to attend the ceremony; and some yielded. 44 countries resisted Chinese pressure and accepted the invitation. However, Russia, Iran, Argentina, Colombia & Cuba declined among 19 not attending. [read more ]Earlier this December, Cuban authorities refused to allow dissident Guillermo Fariñas to attend the Sakharov Prize presentation in Strasbourg in spite of repeated pleads from the European Parliament to the Cuban government. In fact, Cubans have been detained and imprisoned repeatedly in retaliation for having distributed copies of the UN Human Rights declaration. Lately, reprisals were taken against opposition groups trying to have peaceful demonstrations on Human Rights Day. [See details in Spanish]
Many Chinese, Cuban, North Korean and other democracy lovers in many more countries than we would wish to count are paying a price for their work in favor of Human Rights and freedom. Their efforts are inspirational for the rest of the World in reaping a harvest of renewed determination and courage to oppose tyranny and to build and strengthen democratic societies.
While the Communist Party in China, as well as in Cuba at a much lower level, is pursuing market reforms on the economic front, "when it comes to politics, it is tenaciously clinging to its dictatorial system", according to Mr. Liu's own words. He also cites the ways in which it has assisted "rogue regimes" in Sudan, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, as well as in other Latin American countries that have turned to the extreme political left, and has used energy cooperation to "attract the extremely anti-American, anti-Western Muslim countries, such as Iran".
Knowledge is power, and the prospect of such power in the hands of the people makes authoritarian regimes tremble. Mr. Liu's main crime was his attempt to bring knowledge to the people of China and the world. That is the main crime of the Cuban repressed opposition. That is exactly what Presidents Chavez, Morales and Ortega are trying to suppress in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua in their forceful path to tyranny.