Hong Kong Christians honor Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo
Christian groups in Hong Kong celebrated recently imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize award, even as the Nobel ceremony was going on in Oslo, Sweden.
About 1,000 Christians joined the celebration which was organized by the local Roman Catholic Justice and Peace Commission and the Hong Kong Christian Institute. Also in attendance were some non-governmental groups. They lauded the poet-activist and urged Beijing to release Liu along with other political prisoners, ENI News reported.
ENI News said that Liu is “a liberal who respects Christianity” and that for him, God has “a spiritual presence on earth.” Professor Ying Fuk-tsang of the Christian Study Center on Chinese Religions and Cultures said Liu was influenced by Christianity in his fight for democracy, ENI News reported.
Ying said Liu’s writings show that Christianity helped to cultivate his conviction for spiritual growth and non-violence, ENI News said.
The Guardian reported that Liu, a human rights activist and professor, won the Nobel peace prize “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”
He has been in jail frequently over 20 years in China for dissident activities. He was last imprisoned in 2009 and is now serving an 11-year sentence for subversion, the Guardian reported.
Liu’s wife Liu Xia is currently under house arrest. Liu’s family was not allowed to attend the Nobel ceremony in Oslo to accept the medal for Liu and to collect a $1.4 million cash prize, Adelaide Now reported.
Alan Leong Kah-kit told ENI News, “Beijing should know that to confer the Nobel Peace Prize on Mr. Liu is not to confront the Chinese people. Human rights are universal values, and should be abided by all.”
During the ceremony in Oslo Liu’s Nobel medal was placed on an empty chair underneath the portrait of the 54-year-old dissident, Adelaide Now said.
Hong Kong’s Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun said the empty chair is like the two empty chairs that were in the Vatican synod that were intended for Chinese bishop Matthias Duan Yin-ming and his assistant bishop who were banned from attending in 1998, ENI News reported.
China erased the blue and white empty chair minutes after a Chinese blogger posted it on a popular website, Adelaide Now reported. However empty chairs continue to flourish online, including one on Twitter showing a man handcuffed to a black chair.
The Christians in Hong Kong issued a statement criticizing Beijing’s use of diplomatic pressure “to threaten other countries not to send representatives to attend the award ceremony,” for censoring information in China about the first Chinese to win a Nobel Peace Prize, and for disparaging Liu, ENI News said.
The statement said, “All these show to the international community how repressive and arrogant the Chinese government is and they prove to the world how meaningful it is for the Nobel Committee to give the award to Liu Xiaobo,” ENI News reported.
Meanwhile, Minneapolis-based Graywolf Press purchased the rights to the first English translation of a collection of Liu’s poetry entitled June Fourth Elegies and which talks about the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, the Guardian said.
According to the Guardian, the book has never been published in China.