Dalai Lama asks China to free Nobel winner Liu

Dalai Lama asks China to free Nobel winner Liu

Congratulating Liu for getting the Nobel, the Tibetan spiritual guru, himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said in a statement: " Awarding the peace prize to him is the international community's recognition of the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms."

"I would like to offer my heart-felt congratulations to Liu Xiaobo for being awarded the Nobel prize."

"I have been personally moved as well as encouraged by the efforts of hundreds of Chinese intellectuals and concerned citizens, including Liu, in signing the Charter 08, which calls for democracy and freedom in China... I believe in the years ahead, future generations of Chinese will be able to enjoy the fruit of the efforts that the current Chinese citizens are making towards responsible governance," said the Tibetan leader, who was awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Dalai Lama observed that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's recent comments on freedom of speech being indispensable for any country and people's wish for democracy and freedom being irresistible are a reflection of the growing yearning for a more open China.

"I would like to take this opportunity to renew my call to the government of China to release Liu and other prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression," the Dalai Lama, 75, added.

Liu is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence on charges of  inciting subversion of state power in China.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced in Oslo that Liu was unanimously chosen for his long-standing struggle for human rights in China.