Pelosi Remarks at Subcommittee Hearing on The Tragic Case of Liu Xiaobo

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee Hearing on ‘The Tragic Case of Liu Xiaobo.’ Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you very much Mr. Chairman [Christopher H. Smith].  It is such a sad day for all of us, we were very hopeful that we could have seen an opportunity for medical care to be given to Liu Xiaobo in the last days of his life – to extend his life, the life of this great man.

I thank you Mr. Chairman for your ongoing persistent, consistent advocacy for human rights throughout the world, in particular in this case in China.  You and I have worked on these issues for decades.  Your staff said to me on the Republican side, ‘when it comes to these issues there’s no sides’ we have always worked in a very strong bipartisan way and I have always saluted your leadership as well as our [former] colleague [Congressman] Frank Wolf from Virginia who was also very relentless.

I have seen Dr. Yang [Jianli]’s testimony and Dr. [Jared] Gensler’s testimony and have heard Dr. [Perry] Link’s beautiful statement as well.  I just wanted to make a statement for the record.  I was just being interviewed in the Capitol for the statement on this and what I partially said [was this:]

The world grieves the loss of Liu Xiaobo – one of the great moral voices of our time.  His clarion call for democracy and human rights in China represented the best hopes of humankind; his courage became a poignant symbol for freedom-loving people across the globe.

Liu Xiaobo’s death is a tragedy and a deep affront to the basic notions of justice and human dignity.  The role that poor medical care in prison played in his death – and the cruelty of confining a dying man in captivity, away from his family and friends – should disturb us all.  His arrest for the so-called crime of putting his political views into writing is a sobering reminder of China’s shameful disregard for basic freedoms.

The world is a bleaker place for this crushing loss, but we must continue to carry forward Liu Xiaobo’s legacy.  America must honor its moral duty to speak out in defense of the many journalists, human rights lawyers, democracy activists and religious freedom advocates unjustly and unfairly tossed in jail simply for aspiring for a more free and hopeful future.  If we do not speak out for human rights in China because of commercial interests, then we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights any other place in the world.

Two weeks ago, I was pleased to join Congressman Chris Smith, Co-Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, as the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution calling for the unconditional release of both Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia.  We strongly hoped that China will heed the call to free Liu Xia from her unjust house arrest and will allow her to travel wherever she may chose.

I just want to join Dr. Link in his comments about Liu Xiaobo, reading from Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel lecture in absentia on December 10, 2010 [originally read in Court in December 2009].  He said in this, ‘If I may be permitted to say so, the most fortunate experience of these past twenty years has been the selfless love I have received from my wife, Liu Xia.

She could not be present as an observer in court today, but I still want to say to you, my dear, that I firmly believe your love for me will remain the same as it has always been… Your love is the sunlight that leaps over high walls and penetrates the iron bars of my prison window, stroking every inch of my skin, warming every cell of my body, allowing me to always keep peace, openness, and brightness in my heart… Even if I were crushed into powder, I would still use my ashes to embrace you.’

I think he has given us our direction.  We must work very hard to protect Liu Xia hopefully to bring her and her brother, brother-in-law of Liu Xiaobo out of China.  I’ll take my guidance from Chairman Smith we talked about a number of ways to honor the memory of Liu Xiaobo and honor the memory and his love of his wife.

I’m particularly happy Congresswoman Karen Bass is with us today.  She is a person who respected the dignity and worth of every person.  She works hard for children in her own country and works hard for the dignity and worth of the people throughout the world.  Thank you to Congresswoman Bass for making this a priority for us.

Again, under your leadership Mr. Chairman, you’ll give me some guidance under which path is the best way to go. But I close by saying; May Liu Xiaobo’s life and legacy continue to inspire all who strive for justice and democracy.  May his memory be a blessing for us all.  And may his family take some solace in knowing that the world mourns with them.

And Dr. Link I don’t think it’s going to take 200 years, I think right now is the contribution; the legacy of Liu Xiaobo will certainly eclipse the authoritarians of China.

With that, I thank the Chairman and yield back.