And The Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is...

October 8, 2010


UPDATED

Jailed Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo is the 2010 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He received the award "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

Liu is serving an eleven-year term for "incitement to subvert state power. The Guardian reports:
As the news was announced, transmission of both BBC news and CNN television channels was interrupted in China.

Liu was detained at his Beijing home in December 2008 after co-authoring Charter 08, a call for democratic reforms in China.

The decision will infuriate the Chinese government. A foreign ministry spokeswoman said last week that awarding Liu the prize would contradict the aims of the award. The director of Norway's Nobel institute said a senior Chinese official had warned that Sino-Norwegian relations would be damaged if Liu won.

Liu was first jailed for his role in the Tiananmen Square student reform movement. He also served three years in a labour camp in the 90s.
ABC News reported that China is "furious" that the 54-year-old  pro-democracy advocate and writer was awarded the prize:
"Liu Xiabo is a criminal who violated Chinese law. Awarding the prize to Liu runs contrary to the principals of the Nobel Peace Prize," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement.

"The fact that Nobel Committee awarded the peace prize to such a person also lowers the peace prize itself."
The press release from the Nobel Committee:
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the "fraternity between nations" of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.

Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal. The country now has the world's second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Scope for political participation has also broadened.

China's new status must entail increased responsibility. 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 campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Oslo, October 8, 2010

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

See also Charles Hutzler & Karl Ritter, “Chinese dissident Liu wins Nobel Peace Prize,” Associated Press, Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, available at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/nobel_peace_prize.