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Calls for change

February 11, 2010

German, EU and US diplomats decried a Beijing appeals court's upholding the conviction of leading dissident Liu Xiaobo, demanding his release and criticizing the state of human rights in China.

Posters calling for Liu to be freed
China has resisted international calls for Liu's releaseImage: AP

Germany, the European Union and the United States blasted China's human rights record after a court in Beijing rejected an appeal from leading dissident Liu Xiaobo against an 11-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power."

Liu's conviction last December was based on his participation in organizing the "Charter 08" manifesto, which called for sweeping reforms in China.

"The EU calls on the Chinese government unconditionally to release Mr. Liu and to end the harassment and detention of other signatories of Charter 08," said Simon Sharpe, an official with the bloc's delegation in Beijing, to reporters outside the courthouse.

The US was "disappointed" by the decision, said Washington's ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman. He urged Liu's immediate release. "Persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of political views is inconsistent with internationally recognized norms of human rights," he said in a statement.

The German ambassador to China, Michael Schaefer, was among several diplomats who awaited the verdict outside, as diplomats and supporters of Liu were not allowed inside the building.

Germany's envoy on human rights issues, Guenter Nooke, said in Berlin that the court's decision was politically motivated. "This is not only a lost chance for China," Nooke said of the decision, "but also shows what fear the Communist leadership has of its own people.

Editor: Andreas Illmer

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