It’s desirable that China frees Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu:Japanese PM

Friday, October 15, 2010

TOKYO - Japan’s prime minister Naoto Kan has said that it would be “desirable” for China to free Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, but stopped short of an explicit call for his release as Tokyo and Beijing try to repair ties.

“Basic human rights and freedom must be protected. From that standpoint, my view is that the release is desirable,” Kan told fellow members of parliament.

According to the Scotsman, Kan’s comments reflect diplomatic measures Japan is taking to improve the bi-lateral ties that suffered over a collision near the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The Nobel Committee honoured Liu last week for more than two decades of advocacy of human rights and peaceful democratic change that started in 1989 with the demonstrations at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Liu, a 54-year-old literary critic, is now in the second year of an 11-year prison term after being convicted of inciting subversion over his role in writing an influential 2008 manifesto for political reform.

Earlier, China had condemned the Nobel Prize committee and described the award as “blasphemy”. It also imposed a blackout on news about it. Security in some areas has been tightened, and the road to Jinzhou prison in Liaoning Province, where Liu is held, has been blocked, the paper said.

Ties between Asia’s top economies worsened after Japan held a Chinese trawler captain whose boat collided with Japanese patrol ships near disputed islets, but signs of improvement followed recent informal talks between Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.(ANI)

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