As its annual meeting took place Friday, China’s Communist Party was called to reform by more than 100 Chinese dissidents and human rights advocates in a statement released to coincide with the meeting of the elite party members.
The statement further acclaimed the choice of Nobel Peace Prize, saying that jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo was a “splendid choice” to receive the award.
The statement is the latest episode in the furor that has surrounded the choice of Liu as the Nobel winner, and also comes on he back of the surprising call from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao for political reform.
The statement also called on the Chinese government to "immediately release the people who have been illegally detained" following the selection of Liu as the prize winner on October 8.
It also asked for “realism and reason” from the leaders of the Party in responding to the award, which they have so far been furious over, calling it a ‘desecration” and a conspiracy to impose western values in China.
Liu’s wife has also been placed under effective house arrest since her husband won the prize, as well as maintaining censorship of discussion around the award in the media as well as online.
The statement also said: "In a recent series of speeches, Premier Wen Jiabao has intimated a strong desire to promote political reform. We are ready to engage actively in such an effort." China has since amped up surveillance on known dissidents in the country.