ICT report shows one Europe with many voices on Liu Xiaobo; Calls on EU Foreign Policy Chief Ashton to attend Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Liu Xiaobo

Imprisoned 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo.

A new ICT report released today at the European Parliament points to a diversity of reactions in the European Union to Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize and calls on foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton to attend the December 10 award ceremony in Oslo as an indication of unified support.

The report, ‘Reactions to Liu Xiaobo’s Peace Prize in Europe,’ suggests varying degrees of comfort among the EU member states in challenging China’s strong negative reaction to the Nobel Committee’s decision to award the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, known as “China’s conscience” and serving an 11-year prison sentence. Fewer than half the EU member states (13 out of 27) have adopted an official position on the award, and the contents of the statements have varied along with who and how they were delivered or posted.

Following the Nobel Peace Prize announcement on October 8, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Lady Catherine Ashton, issued an immediate congratulatory statement to Liu on behalf of the EU Council and reaffirmed its commitment to “human rights defenders worldwide.” ICT, in its report, contends that Ashton should not only speak for the EU as empowered by the Lisbon Treaty, but she should additionally attend the Peace Prize ceremony to demonstrate “Europe’s unity in the face of pressure from an authoritarian state and as a powerful signal of support to the Chinese people.” So far only nine EU Ambassadors to Norway have confirmed that they will attend the ceremony: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, UK and the EU Ambassador to Norway.

Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “The EU should develop a clear and united China policy that supports progressive forces and civil society, and Ashton should seize this critical opportunity to show that human rights reflect Europe’s values and remain at the heart of its foreign policy.”

The International Campaign for Tibet will release its report on December 7 at a joint press conference at the European Parliament with the Co-President of the Green Party, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, and the NGOs Reporters Sans Frontieres and the International Federation for Human Rights.

Annexes to the report include the official Chinese government reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize announcement, calling it a “disgrace,” and the press statement of the Dalai Lama, 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate, in which he called on China to release Liu Xiaobo and other prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression.

Download a PDF of ICT’s report, Reactions to Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize in Europe.