Oct 8, 2010

Liu Xiaobo wins Nobel Peace Prize

Jliu xiaobo-200X200ailed Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, an announcement that Beijing had anticipated and bitterly criticised.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Liu for his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The ... Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace."

The prize puts China's human rights in the spotlight at a time Beijing has sought to play a bigger role on the global stage.

Liu was jailed for 11 years from last December for subversion of state power, a year after his detention as lead author of Charter 08, a manifesto issued by Chinese intellectuals and activists calling for free speech and multi-party elections.

The former literature professor rose to prominence as a strike leader during protests on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

He was later jailed for 20 months and then spent three years in a "labour re-education" camp during the 1990s, as well as months under virtual house arrest.

Chinese deputy foreign minister Fu Ying warned the head of the Nobel Institute against granting the prize to Liu during a visit to Oslo this summer, saying it would damage ties between China and Norway as they negotiate a bilateral trade deal.

Beijing also strongly criticised Oslo after the 1989 prize went to Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said last month that Liu's actions were "diametrically opposed to the aims of the Nobel prize".

Norway says the Nobel committee, picked by parliament and comprised of former politicians, is fully independent.

The prize worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.5 million) will be awarded in Oslo on December 10. It was not immediately known who would collect the prize if Liu could not do so.


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