The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today
welcomed the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese writer and dissident Liu
Xiaobo saying it is another sign that the inexorable march towards free
expression in China has become unstoppable.
"The door to human rights, democracy and press freedom in
China is open a little wider today," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.
"Journalists both inside China and around the world will take great heart that
this recognition of a writer's independence cannot be ignored no matter how
petulant the response from China's leaders."
Liu Xiaobo was detained at the
end of 2008 just before the release of Charter 08, a manifesto for political
reform he helped to draft calling for more freedom of assembly, expression and
religion. He was prosecuted and last December he was sentenced to eleven years
in prison for inciting subversion.
of the prestigious Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee has angered
China's leaders, but the IFJ says the voices calling for reform and democracy
are getting louder and cannot be ignored.
"Liu Xiaobo is a figure head for a movement that is
forcing the pace of change and we hope that China will respond by setting him
free," said Boumelha. "Intemperate actions such as reported harassment of Liu's wife, Liu Xia, will only strengthen the determination of
journalists and others to bring about change."
The IFJ, which has been monitoring attacks on press freedom from Hong Kong over
the past two years, says China's hostile public response to the award will not
deter those who are campaigning for change both inside and outside the country.
For more information,
please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than
600.000 journalists in 125 countries