Three Chinese human rights advocates have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers. The nominees’ work includes defending victims of religious and political persecution and also victims of abuses related to China’s stringent one-child policy.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) announced the nomination of Chen Guangcheng, Gao Zhisheng, and Liu Xiaobo last Friday.
“These three heroes have stood up for the cause of freedom and human dignity, and they have sacrificed and suffered for their stands,” said Rep. Smith. “They deserve consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize.”
The nomination letter, signed by six other Congressmen, praised the trio’s “outstanding” human rights advocacy and their “remarkable” patriotism and civic courage. The Congressmen said the nominees’ work called on the Chinese government to operate within its laws and in accordance with the human rights agreements it has signed.
Chen, although blind, became a self-taught lawyer and protested the Chinese government’s abuses in enforcing the one-child policy in his native city of Linyi.
Gao, a lawyer, has played a leading role in demanding that government prosecutions be conducted according to law.
The Congressmen described Liu as a “visionary leader” of the Charter 08 human rights movement.
Chen is serving a prison term, Liu has been sentenced to 11 years in prison but is appealing, and Gao has disappeared under what the Congressmen said were “suspicious circumstances.”
“Few governments or inter-governmental organizations have the courage to brave the Chinese government’s displeasure and honor them,” the nominating letter continued. “We can think of no one so deserving of recognition as Chen Guangcheng, Gao Zhisheng, and Liu Xiaobo, and no one whose recognition would be more timely or do more to foster peace in the twenty-first century.”