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Midlander to attend Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

Thursday, December 9, 2010

By Kathleen Thurber, reporter for the Midland Reporter-Telegram
December 9, 2010

When the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony takes place Friday without its honored guest, Midlander Bob Fu will be among those in attendance hoping the event raises awareness of human rights issues in China.

Fu, president of ChinaAid Association, traveled to Oslo as one of 30 international guests invited to the Friday ceremony by the Nobel committee.

"It's quite an honor," Fu said.
Liu Xiaobo, who is being given the award, will not be in attendance as he is continuing to serve an 11-year sentence in China for subversion. He's known for his work as a writer and advocate for democracy and human rights. His sentence was related to pro-democracy documents he helped to draft.

Liu's wife and other human rights defenders also have been stopped from traveling, Fu said.

"Everyone who made an attempt to go, not even related to the Noble Peace Prize, was not allowed to go," he said. "It highlights how much freedom Chinese citizens have."

Fu said a chair and a picture of Liu will be on the stage at the ceremony since no one will be able to accept the award. This is the first time since the 1935 ceremony that the award won't be presented to either the winner or a representative of the winner. In 1935, the peace prize was given to Carl von Ossietzky, a German socialist.

As of Monday, 44 embassies have said they will send a representative to the ceremony and 19 have reported they will not -- up from the six who said they wouldn't attend three weeks ago, according to a statement on the Norwegian Nobel Committee's website.

Fu said the Chinese government has been pressuring other countries not to attend.
Since the award was announced in early October, Fu said persecution of Chinese citizens who are active both in human rights work and underground Christian house churches also has been on the rise. His Midland-based organization's own website went down last week after what he described as "methodical attacks."

"The amount of attacks by the Chinese government is unprecedented," Fu said. "Maybe the worst since 21 years ago in the Tiananmen Square Massacre."
Fu, who fled from China after he and his wife were imprisoned for pastoring a house church, now works through ChinaAid to raise awareness by exposing persecution in China and supporting attorneys who fight on behalf of Christianity and human rights.

Along with attending the ceremony, he said he and several European human rights activists, lawyers and others this week will present signatures of 150,000 in support of Gao Zhisheng, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 and 2010. Gao has not been heard from since April 20 and the petition will be given to consulates around the world and Chinese embassies as a plea for information about Gao, who Fu said they believe is in the hands of Chinese officials.

Fu said he's glad the Nobel committee gave the award to Liu but that he thinks there also needs to be more pressure on the Chinese government from officials worldwide.
With the increased persecution both since the 2008 Olympics and the Nobel Peace Prize announcement, many Chinese citizens are becoming more dissatisfied with their situation and Fu said they need support from outside.

"It's not a cause that's going to be won by one organization," he said. "If China's free the whole world will be much safer."

Kathleen Thurber can be reached at kthurber@mrt.com.

Link: Midlander to attend Nobel Peace Prize ceremony


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org


"Bob Fu has dedicated his life to bringing freedom of religion to the Chinese people. His story is a testimony to the power of faith and an inspiration to people struggling to break free from oppression."
—Mrs. Laura Bush

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