Hong Kong Protest Calls for Nobel Winner's Freedom
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: December 5, 2010
HONG KONG (AP) — Protesters marched Sunday in Hong Kong for the release of jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.
It was one of several events in support of the Chinese dissident being held around the world ahead of the prize ceremony in Oslo on Friday.
Several hundred demonstrators gathered in front of Hong Kong government headquarters before marching, with a heavy police presence, to the Chinese government liaison office 2 1/2 kilometers (1 1/2 miles) away.
The Nobel Committee infuriated China when it gave the prize to Liu, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for subversion after co-authoring an appeal calling for reforms to China's one-party political system.
Hong Kong, a former British colony now under Chinese rule, retains Western-style civil liberties typically denied in the mainland, allowing dissent, such as Sunday's protest, against the communist regime.
The marchers chanted "Support Charter 08" — the name of the reform manifesto — and carried banners calling for the release of Liu and other "prisoners of conscience."
They also called for Liu's wife, Liu Xia, to be released from house arrest. She has been confined to her home and subject to police escort since the award was announced in October.
When the marchers arrived at the liaison office, they erected a banner about 20 feet (6 meters) tall in front of the gates calling for Liu and other Chinese dissidents to be freed.
The rally ended peacefully.
Protesters also plan marches to the Chinese consulates in Los Angeles and Vancouver. Public forums in New York and Toronto will discuss Liu's detention and democracy and human rights in China while in Boston supporters will hold a car rally around the city.
Nobel officials said in November that the prize ceremony would go ahead but most likely without a presentation of the award — which includes a medal, diploma and purse of 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.4 million) — because none of Liu's close relatives would be able to leave China to collect it.