A resolution likely to anger China will come to the floor in the lame-duck session, the Republican sponsor said Thursday evening after a conversation with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a resolution with 11 bipartisan co-sponsors before the Thanksgiving break to honor Chinese dissident and human-rights activist Liu Xiaobo. October's announcement that Liu would be the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Dec. 10 in Oslo, Norway, sparked a fierce reaction from China: Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said governments would have to "take
responsibility for the consequences" if they showed support for Liu.
The resolution was referred to Foreign Affairs, but Smith said he was confident about it being on the hectic lame-duck schedule after a "very nice" conversation with Pelosi on Thursday.
"I have every reason to believe it will come up next week," Smith said. Her office said that the Speaker supports Smith's resolution.
Pelosi agreed to attend the ceremony honoring Liu in Oslo, according to Nobel officials. Pelosi aides told The Hill on Thursday that they would not confirm or deny travel as a standard security procedure and stressed that the congressional schedule is in flux.
Attendance would make Pelosi the highest-ranking member of the American delegation there. Second on the list is Smith, who was invited as well.
"I have already agreed to be there," Smith said. "I very much want to be there," pending any last-minute congressional business that could pop up at the end of next week, he stressed.
Liu will be unable to pick up his award as he's serving an 11-year prison term for "inciting subversion" for his involvement with Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto. His wife, Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest after the Nobel announcement.
The Liu resolution calls Liu a "political prisoner" and urges President Obama to keep working for his release, calls on China to stop censoring media reports about the Nobel prize, and calls on Beijing to release the Lius and stop harrassing the pro-democracy activists.
"In honoring Liu Xiaobo, it also honors all those who have promoted democratic reform in China, including all those who participated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstration for democratic reform," the resolution states, stressing "that violations of human rights in general, and the persecution of Liu Xiaobo... are matters of legitimate concern to other governments."