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Chinese Dissident Wins Nobel Peace Prize

From December 25, 2009: A Hong Kong policeman stands next to a post of jailed Chinese dissident (now

From December 25, 2009: A Hong Kong policeman stands next to a post of jailed Chinese dissident (now Nobel Peace Prize laureate) Liu Xiaobo during a human rights demonstration outside a Chinese liaison office. MIKE CLARKE/Getty hide caption

itoggle caption MIKE CLARKE/Getty

Liu Xiaobo, a jailed Chinese political activist and writer is the winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Peace. The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited Liu's 'long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights'.  Chinese officials had warned the Nobel Committee not to pick Liu as its next laureate. But the Committee responded:

China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights. Article 35 of China's constitution lays down that "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration". In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China's citizens.

For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China.  He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power". Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China's own constitution and fundamental human rights.

The Chinese government lost no time in responding: 'Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law.' The statement from the Chinese Foreign Office criticized the Committee's decision as one that ...'runs completely counter to the principle of the prize and is also a blasphemy to the peace prize.'

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