December 8, 2010 / 8:11 PM / 9 years ago

U.S. House calls on China to release Nobel laureate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives called on China on Wednesday to release jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, the human-rights activist who is due to receive the Nobel Peace Prize later this week.

By a vote of 402 to 1, the House approved a resolution that congratulates Liu for winning the peace prize and honors his efforts to promote democratic reform in China.

The resolution also calls on China to release Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, and cease censoring news of the award. The measure “emphasizes that violations of human rights in general ... are matters of legitimate concern to other governments.”

Representative Ron Paul, the Texas Republican known for his efforts to abolish the Federal Reserve and rein in U.S. foreign policy, was the only lawmaker to vote against the measure.

Liu, 54, is serving an 11-year sentence for organizing a petition calling for greater political rights in China. His wife is under house arrest.

Since the award was announced in October, China has cracked down on dissenters and pressured other countries to boycott Friday’s Nobel ceremony in Oslo where Liu is to honored in absentia.

The vote comes as many in Congress have criticized China for undervaluing its currency. The House this year approved a measure that would impose new U.S. duties on imports from countries with undervalued currencies, but the measure is not considered likely to become law.

Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Philip Barbara

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