Human Rights Leader Liu Xiaobo Arrested

China's official Xinhua news agency has reported that human rights leader Liu Xiaobo has been formally arrested on the criminal charge of “inciting subversion of state power.” Liu Xiaobo was one of the original signers of Charter 08, an online petition calling for new policies to improve human rights and democracy in China. It now has more than 8,000 signatories, a number of whom have been harassed and intimidated by Chinese authorities. While in China last month, Speaker Pelosi hand delivered a letter calling for the release of Liu Xiaobo and certain individuals detained or imprisoned solely for exercising internationally-recognized rights guaranteed to them under Chinese law.

Speaker Pelosi on Liu Xiaobo’s arrest:

The decision by the Chinese government to formally arrest Liu Xiaobo deserves the full condemnation from the international community. Liu's arrest for peacefully criticizing his government and advocating for human rights violates provisions in China's constitution as well as international human rights standards. It has also been reported that Chinese authorities have decided to bar one of Liu Xiaobo's lawyers from representing him, a move without apparent legal basis.

The courageous efforts Liu Xiaobo and the other signatories of Charter 08 to express themselves in the face of harassment, intimidation, and detention are an inspiration to the entire world. The Chinese government should cease its efforts to suppress the Charter 08 movement and listen to the many Chinese people calling for political reforms.

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