By Lyxan Toledanes, reporter for the Odessa American
December 10, 2010
As the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony commenced Friday, an empty chair sat in front of representatives from 46 embassies and invited guests while the guest of honor, Liu Xiaobo, remains detained in a Chinese prison cell.
China has prohibited Xiaobo, 54, from breaking his 11-year sentence on a manifesto he co-authored which had pro-democratic leanings, marking the 2010 ceremony the first time in 74 years the recipient was not present.
Fu is president of Midland-based organization CHINAaid, a nonprofit website which regularly posts information on the persecution of human rights and Christian leaders in China.
Fu was among only 30 international guests invited by the Nobel Committee to attend the ceremony in Oslo, Norway, the Midland Reporter Telegram reported Wednesday.
“I felt a little surprised to have received this honor, but I was glad I was invited,” Fu said in an email interview. “I am also glad that this honor means our work for promoting religious freedom and rule of law in China is recognized by the international community.”
The invitation is encouraging to the eight-year-old organization, CHINAaid spokesman Mark Shan said.
”We’re using this opportunity to reach more international figures in discussing religious freedom and human rights in China,” Shan said. “China’s rights have caught people’s attention.”
CHINAaid caught the attention of the Chinese government when its Chinese-language website was forcibly shut down by Chinese government hackers Nov. 30, Fu said to MRT.
“CHINAaid has been, and still is, the most influential platform providing (information) on the persecution of (Christian) house churches in China,” Shan said. “There’s no platform as reliable as ours. They wanted to cut off this information chain.”
Fu’s agenda in Oslo will continue his and CHINAaid’s mission to spread the awareness of human rights in China.
Fu said he has met with the Norwegian Parliament leader, the Norway Council of Church secretary general, the European Union Parliament chairwoman and subcommittee and Oregon Rep. David Wu, speaking on the worsening situation of Chinese religious freedom and human rights, Fu said.
Fu has also collected nearly 150,000 signatures to deliver to Chinese embassies to protest the disappearance of human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, whose last known appearance was March 27.
“I hope with all the focus on China because of this award, and with nearly 150,000 voices from all over the world, the Chinese government can give an account to Gao’s whereabouts and release Gao, as well as allow him to come to us and reunite with his family,” Fu said.
Fu said awarding Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize serves as a catalyst for change for China’s government, but the changes will not be seen in the short term.
“The award has made the Chinese government’s crackdown against human rights defenders more intense,” Fu said.
Fu said with Xiaobo and Chinese human practices gaining worldwide attention, he hopes the international community will stand in solidarity to understand the violations occurring in China.
“The Chinese government has spread lies and propaganda in the West. That’s why we were attacked, and that’s why we should fight to continue to try in every way to provide the true information to the free world,” Fu said.