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28december20095Dharamshala: Tibet's spiritual and political leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Monday urged the Chinese government to release writer Liu Xiaobo and other political prisoners.

In a statement released today, His Holiness said that he is "saddened by the Chinese government sentencing Liu Xiaobo, a well-known Chinese writer, to an 11-year jail term.”

He continued, “By forcefully sentencing Liu Xiaobo, and others like him, who use freedom of expression to publicly articulate their opinions, the Chinese authorities have not only violated the binding principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also the freedom of expression mentioned in the constitution of the People's Republic of China.”

“I urge the Chinese government to release as soon as possible Liu Xiaobo, and other political prisoners who were jailed because of exercising freedom of expression,” the exiled Tibetan leader concluded.

Liu Xiaobo, a former Beijing Normal University professor, spent 20 months in jail for joining the 1989 student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, which ended when the government called in the military - killing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of peaceful protesters.

Liu's "Charter 08" demands a new constitution guaranteeing human rights, the open election of public officials, and freedom of religion and expression. Some 10,000 people have signed it in the past year, after Chinese authorities conducted a deadly crackdown on Tibetan demonstrators throughout Tibet—although a news blackout and Internet censorship have left most Chinese unaware that it exists.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com