Human rights activist from China to attend World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

On October 27, it was learned that Wuer Kaixi, former student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, will attend "The 2010 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates" to be held on November 12 to 14 in the city of Hiroshima. He has been invited to the summit as a surrogate for the imprisoned Liu Xiaobo, a human rights activist in China and this year's Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

According to the spokesperson of the summit's secretariat in Rome, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev and former Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, co-chairs of the summit, sent a letter of invitation to Wuer Kaixi, a member of the Uyghur people who now lives in exile in Taiwan. He will reportedly read a statement calling for the release of Liu Xiaobo on the first day of the summit. As a student at Beijing Normal University, Wuer Kaixi was a leader in the protests at Tiananmen Square. One of his professors was Liu Xiaobo, who was a lecturer at the university.

In June of this year, Wuer Kaixi entered the China Embassy in Tokyo to call for dialogue with the Chinese government and was arrested on the spot by Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on the charge of unlawful entry. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office then decided to drop the charge. Wuer Kaixi will reportedly face no difficulties in entering Japan to attend the summit.

The 14th Dalai Lama, the supreme leader of Tibetan Buddhism, will also be present at the summit. Around the same time, Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Yokohama to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting. Some diplomatic repercussions may emerge.

The secretariat also announced that East Timor President José Ramos-Horta and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez will not attend the summit, reducing the number of individual Nobel laureates who will attend the summit to eight.

(Originally published on October 28, 2010)

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