Liu Xiaobo - statement by the Norwegian Nobel Committee

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has received the news about the release of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo with a mixture of relief and deep worry.

The Committee is delighted to learn that Liu Xiaobo is out of prison at long last. At the same time the Committee strongly regrets that it took serious illness before Chinese authorities were willing to release him from jail. Liu Xiaobo has fought a relentless struggle in favour of democracy and human rights in China and has already paid a heavy price for his involvement. He was, essentially, convicted for exercising his freedom of speech and should never have been sentenced to jail in the first place. Chinese authorities carry a heavy responsibility if Liu Xiaobo, because of his imprisonment, has been denied necessary medical treatment. The Committee hopes that he will now be released without conditions and offered the best possible treatment for his illness, whether it be in China or abroad. Finally, the Committee would like to confirm its standing invitation to Liu Xiaobo to come to Oslo and receive the Committee's tribute. Due to his imprisonment Liu Xiaobo was unable to attend the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in 2010. His designated chair at the podium in the Oslo City Hall was left empty.