HONG KONG, OCT. 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Hong Kong has called for the immediate release of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Liu Xiaobo. The commission's appeal is seconded by other Christian groups and Catholic leaders.

Liu Xiaobo, 54, was sentenced to 11 years in prison and deprived of political rights for two years in late 2009. He was accused of having taken part in the writing and signing of the Charter 08 manifesto, and for having published dissident writings.

The charter, according to the legal adviser of Hong Kong, Lee Wah-ming -- who presented a motion for his release in the Council's session of January 13, 2010 -- is "an expression of the common values recognized by civilized societies."

After the announcement was made last Friday that he was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, human rights groups began a campaign for his release. Liu reportedly dedicated the prize to "the martyrs" of Tiananmen Square, the 1989 deadly confrontation between Chinese authorities students and professors who were mourning the death of Hu Yaobang.

According to the Nobel Committee, Liu was giving the award "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

Ten minutes after the announcement was made, Liu Xiaobo's name disappeared from the Internet in China. Search engines did not give results on Chinese home pages and, in forums, news on the topic was swiftly erased by the administrators.

In June 2009, when Liu's house arrest became effective detention, the Catholic bishop of Hong Kong, John Tong Hon, said: "I hope the Beijing government will allow liberty of expression. To take into account a plurality of opinions cannot be more beneficial for the country, because only thus will we be able to broaden our horizon."