Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo wins Nobel Peace Prize

Liu Xiaobo, a jailed Chinese rights activist, has won the 2010 Nobel Peace prize, prompting a strong reaction from China

Published on AlJazeera, Source: Al Jazeera and agencies, Oct. 8, 2010.

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Announcing the award in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on Friday, Thorbjoern Jagland, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman, said Liu was a symbol for the fight for human rights in China.  

“China has become a big power in economic terms as well as political terms, and it is normal that big powers should be under criticism,” he said .

Liu is in prison for helping to organise and disseminate a document called Charter 08, which calls for sweeping political reforms in China, including freedom of assembly, expression and religion. The 54-year-old literary critic and former professor was sentenced last Christmas Day to 11 years in jail for subversion.

In response to the Oslo announcement, China said that giving the prize to “criminal” Liu ran contrary to the principles of the award, and warned ties with Norway would suffer.

“This is an obscenity against the peace prize,” Ma Zhaoxu, a foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement.

Quoting the Norwegian foreign ministry, Reuters news agency reported that China summoned Norway’s ambassador in Beijing on Friday to protest the award.

“They wanted to officially share their opinion, their disagreement and their protest,” a ministry spokeswoman said.

Chinese warnings: … //

… This year, the Nobel Committee considered a record 237 individuals and organisations for the prestigious prize.

The Nobel prizes were established by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist and the inventor of dynamite, and were first handed out in 1901.

According to Nobel’s will, the peace prize should be given to the person who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

The award of $1.5m will be handed out in Oslo on December 10, while the other Nobel prize ceremonies are held in Sweden, in line with the founder’s wishes. Sweden and Norway were joined in a union during his lifetime.

The Norwegian parliament appoints the five voting members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which selects the laureate for the Peace prize.

Each year, the committee invites qualified people to submit nominations for the prize. (full text).

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