A law court in Beijing has rejected an appeal this morning (11 February 2010) against the jail sentence handed down to prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo. Minutes after an announcement was made, Twitter was inundated with comments from Chinese netizens who condemned the court’s decision. Less than 30 minutes later, the US Embassy joined Chinese netizens to start posting tweets in Chinese to express its view on Liu’s jail sentence.
The US Embassy’s Twitter account was set up in November last year by the US Consulate General in Guangzhou to promote the visit of President Barrack Obama to China. It had been used specifically to broadcast President Obama’s meeting with student representatives in Shanghai. Since then, the Consulate has been posting tweets in Chinese on a regular basis to explain the US government’s position on various issues.
These are tweets about Liu Xiaobo that the US Embassy has posted this morning:
We are disappointed by the Chinese Government’s decision to uphold Liu Xiaobo’s sentence of 11 years in prison on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power.” We believe that he should not have been sentenced in the first place and should be released immediately.
We have raised our concerns about Mr. Liu’s detention repeatedly and at high levels, both in Beijing and in Washington, since he was taken into custody over a year ago. Mr. Liu has peacefully worked for the establishment of political openness and accountability in China. Persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of political views is inconsistent with internationally-recognized norms of human rights.
We continue to call on the Government of China to release him immediately and to respect the right of all citizens to peacefully express their political views and exercise internationally-recognized freedoms.
This is the link to the official statement issued by Jon M. Huntsman, US Ambassador to China.