Greens call on Government to congratulate Chinese Nobel laureate

Green MP Keith Locke is asking John Key to offer his congratulations to the imprisoned Chinese democrat Liu Xiaobo for winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“The award recognises the leading role Mr Liu, has played in the campaign for democracy in China, and the sacrifice this has entailed,” said Green Party foreign affairs spokesperson Mr Locke.

“It is time for John Key to join other world leaders like Barack Obama and Angela Merkel, and offer New Zealand’s congratulations to Liu Xiaobo on this great achievement.

Mr Liu – former professor of Beijing Normal University – was fired from his job and served 20 months in prison due to his participation in the Tiananmen protests in 1989. From 1996 to 1999, he spent three years in a labor re-education camp for his political views. He was again arrested in December 2008 and sentenced to 11 years in prison for co-authoring Charter 08, a declaration calling for political reform and greater human rights in China.

“New Zealand needs to advocate for Liu’s release from prison,” said Mr Locke.

“It is wrong for Mr Liu to be in prison simply for promoting the sort of democracy all New Zealanders take for granted.

“The Chinese democracy movement has been given a boost by the award and New Zealand should not let them down by John Key staying silent on this historic achievement.”

“New Zealand can play its part in making the world a better place. It is time for John Key’s Government to step up and support Liu Xiaobo,” said Mr Locke.