Beijing condemns the decision.
Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been named the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Making the announcement in Oslo, the head of the Norwegian Nobel committee said Liu was “the foremost symbol” of the human rights struggle in China, BBC News reported. Several countries including the US, France and Germany, called for his immediate release.
Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland, reading the citation, said China’s new status in the world “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.” Jagland said that, in practice, freedoms enshrined in China’s constitution had “proved to be distinctly curtailed for China’s citizens”.
Liu, 54, was a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Last year he received an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion” after drafting Charter 08 – which called for multi-party democracy and respect for human rights in China.
Beijing quickly condemned the award, saying it could damage China-Norway relations. Foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said: “Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who violated Chinese law. It’s a complete violation of the principles of the prize and an insult to the peace prize itself for the Nobel committee to award the prize to such a person.” Later Norway said its ambassador in Beijing had been summoned to the Chinese foreign ministry.
Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, said she was “so excited” by the award. She said: “I want to thank everyone for supporting Liu Xiaobo. I strongly ask that the Chinese government release Liu.” Mrs Liu said police had informed her they would take her to her husband’s prison in the north-eastern province of Liaoning on Saturday so she could give him the news. However, no news of her exact whereabouts was available on Sunday, with Liu Xiaobo’s lawyer telling CNN he was no longer able to reach Liu Xia.