Chinese Dissident Liu Xiabo Wins Nobel Peace Prize
Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Liu is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence in China. He is the first Chinese national to win the prize.
Last Christmas, Liu was sentenced for „inciting subversion of state power“. That was after he helped launch Charter 08, a 2008 manifesto calling for democratic reform of the one-party state.
The charge of inciting subversion is a broad accusation that covers criticisms of the Communist Party and its policies.
Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, has been unreachable for comment. Her brother told a human rights group that police were at her house, preventing her from giving interviews. Before the announcement of the Peace Prize, Liu Xia said she was optimistic.
[Liu Xia, Liu Xiaobo’s Wife]:
„If he is nominated, I think it could be of help to him. His friends always say to me that they have high hopes that he will achieve this, even more than he does himself, because it will be an opportunity to bring about reform in China.“
In the statement announcing Liu’s prize, the Nobel Committee praised his struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The committee said that China’s status “must entail increased responsibility”. It also said the Chinese regime had violated international agreements, and that it had limited freedoms and political rights promised in its Constitution.
In a statement Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry called Liu Xiaobo a “criminal”. It said that awarding the Nobel to Liu was „a blasphemy to the Peace Prize.“
Last week, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute said that a senior Chinese official warned him against giving the prize to Liu, saying it would affect relations between Oslo and Beijing.
Liu Xiaobo’s lawyer explains why Western countries have been rather silent on Liu’s nomination.
[Pu Zhiqiang, Liu Xiaobo’s Lawyer]:
„The West are temporarily holding back their concern or trying their best to bring up as little as possible on human rights issues in China because of their economy. They want to avoid any harm it will bring to the interest of their market. I can understand their situation. This is human nature. Also, it doesn’t matter if people are concerned or not, Liu Xiaobo won’t change. Some people will not change.“
Human rights groups say Liu’s win is extremely significant. But some analysts are predicting that Chinese authorities will now clamp down even harder on dissent.
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