Arrest of dissident by China draws U.S attention
China’s decision to arrest the famous human rights activist, Liu Xiaobo has received much negative attention, especially from the United States government. This move comes amidst speculation that the Chinese government has begun to tighten control over any form of opposition. Liu had recently signed the famous Charter 08 document which calls for an end to single party rule and particularly, the termination of “the crime of incitement of subversion of state power”. It is thought that Liu was arrested for his support for the latter. He has been accused of rebellious behaviour and having ambitions of removing the current Chinese government from power. Such charges carry a sentence of 15 years in jail.
China’s reaction to Liu has brought on American condemnation. Earlier this week, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House (U.S), openly criticized Chinese suppression of pro-democratic roots. Indeed, Pelosi called on all nations to denounce Chinese actions. In the words of Pelosi, the American government is of the opinion that, “Liu's arrest for peacefully criticising his government and advocating for human rights violates provisions in China's constitution as well as international human rights standards,”
Liu was one of the original 303 people to sign the charter. The number of signatories has now increased to 8000. The Americans are not the only ones who have chosen to rally around Liu. Following his arrest, many Chinese intellectuals have circulated a petition which insists on Liu’s release.