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Tutu, Havel Call For China To Release Nobel Peace Winner

Liu Xiaobo in an undated photo
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Czech President Vaclav Havel have called on China to release pro-democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo to allow him to receive this year's Nobel Peace Prize on December 10 in Oslo, Norway.

In an article co-written in Britain's "Observer" newspaper, Tutu and Havel say Liu's detention is "sadly emblematic of the Chinese government's intolerance," and they say the communist-led regime in Beijing risks losing its credibility as a world leader if it continues to restrict human rights.

The South African archbishop, who is already a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and Havel, who was a leading dissident against the former Czechoslovakia's communist regime, also say in the article that the world should reject the Chinese model for development because it supports the idea "that anything, including domestic and international oppression, can be justified if it is viewed to enable economic growth."

Chinese authorities say Liu is a criminal, and he is currently serving an 11-year sentence for "subverting state power" in connection with a 2008 manifesto that called for strengthened human rights and multiparty rule in China.

compiled from agency reports