DHARAMSALA, June 25: In a strong and symbolic message to highlight Nobel Prize-winning Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo’s unjust imprisonment and underscore US commitment to safeguard human rights around the world, the House Appropriations Committee, on June 24 voted to rename the stretch of land that runs directly in front of the Chinese Embassy as “Liu Xiaobo Plaza”.
The Chinese embassy currently sits on 3505 International Place NW, reportedly near the Washington Zoo’s Panda House.
The amendment offered by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and approved by the bipartisan committee by voice vote to the annual State Department spending bill directs the Secretary of State, John Kerry to officially rename the section of International Place that runs directly in front of the Chinese Embassy “Liu Xiaobo Plaza” and post accompanying street signs.
“For purposes of U.S. Postal code, the embassy’s address would change to No. 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza so that every piece of incoming mail to the embassy would bear the name of the imprisoned Nobel laureate,” a statement on Rep. Frank Wolf’s official page said.
Earlier in May this year, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress had asked the District government to rename the street, but learned that the street was owned by the federal government and not the District of Columbia.
The group sent a letter on June 4, the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China citing as precedent congressional action in the 1980s to rename the street in front of the Soviet Embassy in Washington ‘Sakharov Plaza,’ after jailed dissident Andrei Sakharov.
“Renaming the street would send a clear and powerful message that the United States remains vigilant and resolute in its commitment to safeguard human rights around the globe,” the statement quoted Wolf as saying during the committee debate on the measure.
The proposal needs to be voted upon by the city council before any name change can be formally made. However, Council Chairman, Phil Mendelson after meeting Rep. Wolf, introduced a resolution of support which he intends to move prior to the July Council recess.