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Congratulating Liu Xiaobo on Nobel Peace Prize

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WU. Madam Speaker, I rise today to support House Resolution 1717, congratulating imprisoned Chinese democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo on the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. I thank my colleague and good friend Congressman CHRIS SMITH for introducing this resolution.

China is an appropriately proud nation, with more than 5,000 years of recorded history, a history filled with great achievements. Chinese is perhaps the world's oldest, continuously used written language. More recently, the nation has achieved near universal literacy and has fed its 1.3 billion people most adequately. And most recently, China has achieved human space flight, joining the international community of space-faring nations.

And on this Friday, another first, the first Nobel Peace Prize. But inexplicably, this achievement has been met by this Chinese Government with opposition and outright hostility. This is an incomprehensible failure of national pride and patriotism. I call upon this Chinese Government to be on the right side of history. I know that Chinese history will some day vindicate Liu Xiaobo, as it has done with other great figures in Chinese history.

In the city of Hangzhou, which is near Suzhou, my ancestral home where my family has lived for 500 to 600 years, Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty and the scene of conflict between the Song Dynasty and northern tribes. In that city is a memorial park to honor a general of the Song Dynasty, Yue Fei, who is now considered a national hero. He was executed by a jealous emperor. And today, his statue, he stands upon that jealous emperor's neck tall and proud.

History has a way of setting things right. By failing to honor the fundamental rights guaranteed by its own constitution, the current Chinese Government not only fails the Chinese people, but it is also failing to live up to China's 5,000-year history as one of the great civilizations on this planet. People like Liu Xiaobo are the future of China. Let us honor him today and every day as this struggle continues.

Why is Liu Xiaobo, a prolific writer and a longstanding advocate for peaceful democratic reform in China, in prison today, unable to attend the ceremony in Oslo? This year, the world's spotlight will be on the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, and that spotlight will shine upon an empty chair. I and others from this body will be there, and we hope to underscore both the universality of the struggle for freedom and the singularity not only of the great achievement but also of the Chinese Government's unpatriotic, incomprehensible reactions to Mr. Liu's historic recognition.

Madam Speaker, it is time for change. With proper recognition and proper action, China can take another important step and evolve peacefully toward its future. The alternative will be a harsh judgment of history.


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