Should Obama Block Renaming China Embassy’s Street After Liu Xiaobo?

According to a report in New York Times, President Obama is likely to veto the bill to change the address of the China Embassy in Washington from 3505 International Place NW to 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza in honour of the Nobel Peace laureate imprisoned in China.

The bill was introduced by Ted Cruz, the Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate, which had passed the Senate on Friday. Liu Xiaobo is a literary critic and a prominent figure of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and he was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment for incitement after he compiled the Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto. A year later, he was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for his works towards human rights in China.

Deputy spokesman for the American State Department, Mark C. Toner said on Tuesday that as of his understanding, President Barack Obama would veto the above bill if it reaches him as such changing of names would not have any significance in encouraging China to respect humans in China.

“We view this kind of legislative action as something that only complicates our efforts, so we oppose this approach,” he told reporters at a news briefing in Washington. “It’s our desire to work more productively and cooperatively with Congress on ways to address our shared goal of improving human rights in China.”

“The Obama administration’s veto threat is yet another outrageous example of its eagerness to coddle an authoritarian Communist regime at the expense of pro-American dissidents,” Mr. Cruz said in a written statement accusing the White House in refusing to stand up against the Chinese government.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei called the bill a violation of “the basic norms of international relations” and warned that it would lead to “severe consequences” if passed.

Yeshi Paljor

Editor at Tibetan Journal, Yeshi Paljor is a computer engineer by profession.

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