The United States today asked China to immediately release Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and praised the countries which attended the award ceremony in Oslo ignoring the Chinese missive in this regard.
"We encouraged every government to attend the ceremony. We were encouraged that so many did. To us, the expression of support for Liu Xiaobo by Norwegian Committee and by the grand majority of countries in the world is an encouraging sign," US Assistant Secretary for Democracy Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner said.
"We welcome the decision of the Nobel Committee to award this year's peace prize to Liu Xiaobo for his work promoting human rights and democracy in China. Charter 08 is a human rights document. We continue to call for his immediate release," Posner said in response to a question at a State Department briefing.
"We have been consistent in saying we support the award. Our Ambassador in Oslo attended the ceremony today and many others did as well, and we've encouraged that. We support the award. We support the decision of the Norwegian Committee, and we support Liu Xiaobo," he said.
Posner said the focus of the US is and will continue to be on urging China to release him and allow him to operate and continue to do his human rights work in the country.
"We will continue our policy of principled engagement. We engage with governments all over the world. We have a range of interests. But human rights is at the center of what we do. We're not shying away from these discussions," he said.
"Today is a reminder, again, that this is an important part of our history and an important part of our going forward," Posner said at the news briefing held on the occasion of Human Rights Day.