This morning Richard Gere, actor and human rights advocate, joined Students for a Free Tibet, Human Rights in China (HRIC), and eight other NGOs in honoring Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.
At an event in Ralph Bunche Park across from the United Nations, Mr. Gere spoke movingly about Liu’s writings and what Liu stands for. “It’s clear that, in the end, brute force can never really stop that innate universal drive for happiness, for freedom, for expression, for community. And this Nobel Peace Prize for Liu Xiaobo demonstrates that we are part of that community,” said Mr. Gere.
Mr. Gere also read excerpts from Liu’s trial statement, “I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement,” ending with:
… I firmly believe that China’s political progress will not stop, and I, filled with optimism, look forward to the advent of a future free China. For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom, and China will in the end become a nation ruled by law, where human rights reign supreme...
Artists Zhang Hongtu and Tenzing Rigdol created a powerful portrait of Liu Xiaobo, which hung down the curved wall of the park with simulated prison bars over it. At the end of his reading, Mr. Gere asked everyone to observe a moment of silence, and then led the group of journalists and participants up the steps of the park to remove the prison bars from Liu’s portrait.
A joint statement issued by the ten NGOs was read. The NGOs are: Students for a Free Tibet, Human Rights in China, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, International Campaign for Tibet, International Federation for Human Rights, Tibetan Youth Congress of New York & New Jersey, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, and the Uyghur American Association.
Representatives of several NGOs spoke, including Tenzin Dorjee of Students for a Free Tibet, Mary Beth Markey of International Campaign for Tibet, Mi Ling Tsui of Human Rights in China, and Ngawang Tashi of Tibetan Youth Congress of New York and New Jersey.
Video of the event is available on HRIC’s YouTube channel (http://youtube.com/hrichina). Photos of the event are available at HRIC’s Citizens’ Square.