The United Nations human rights chief today expressed dismay over restrictions by China on the wife and associates of jailed activist Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and reiterated her call for his release.
“In recent weeks my office has received reports of at least 20 activists being arrested or detained and more than 120 other cases of house arrests, travel restrictions, forced relocations and other acts of intimidation,” said Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at a news conference in Geneva.
“These includes Liu Xiaobo’s wife, who remains under house arrest, house arrest which in my view is in contravention of Chinese national law,” she said. China opposed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Liu.
Speaking ahead of Human Rights Day, to be marked tomorrow, Ms. Pillay encouraged all States, including China, that have not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to do so, and to release any person detained for peacefully exercising their right to the freedom of expression.
Mr. Liu was in December last year convicted and sentenced to 11 years for “inciting subversion of state power” for his role in the drafting of the “Charter 08” petition, which called for political reforms in China.
Ms. Pillay has described the sentence as “extremely harsh” and raised questions about the fairness of the charges against him.
“It is my view that the case should be reviewed and Liu be released as soon as possible,” she stated. “I hope that the Chinese authorities will come to recognize the positive contribution that peaceful advocates like Liu Xiaobo can make to China’s development.”