2010 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Chinese human rights dissident Liu Xiaobo

Perhaps now China will release him from prison. CNN:

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Liu Xiaobo, a leading Chinese dissident who is serving an 11-year prison term.

Liu was sentenced in 2009 for inciting subversion of state power. He’s the co-author of Charter 08, a call for political reform and human rights, and was an adviser to the student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Norwegian Nobel Committee head Geir Lundestad said 199 individuals and 38 organizations had been nominated for this year’s prize.

The Chinese government “warned” the Nobel committee that they’d better not dare give Liu the prize.

The Chinese foreign ministry had previously warned the Nobel committee not to give Liu the prize, as they said that it would be against Nobel principles.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency later carried a report saying that awarding Liu Xiaobo the prize blaspheme (褻瀆) Alfred Nobel’s purpose of creating this prize and “may harm China-Norway relations”. The spokeperson added that Liu had broken Chinese law and his “actions run contrary to the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize.” News of the award was censored in China, with television reports carrying the ceremony going black and a media blackout across Chinese media. Despite being blocked to discuss the news in forums based in the Mainland China, the term blaspheme has stirred up an internet meme in China and has been used to satirize the government’s response.

More from Wikipedia:

Liu Xiaobo (simplified Chinese: 刘晓波; traditional Chinese: 劉曉波; pinyin: Liú Xiǎobō; born December 28, 1955) is a Chinese intellectual, anti-communist and human rights activist in China.

He has served as President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center since 2003. On December 8, 2008, Liu was detained in response to his participation with Charter 08. He was formally arrested on June 23, 2009, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” He was tried on the same charges on December 23, 2009, and sentenced to eleven years’ imprisonment and two years’ deprivation of political rights on December 25, 2009.

During his 4th prison term from 2009 to 2020, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and, subsequently was informed by his lawyer , that on October 8, 2010, he was named the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Liu Xiaobo is a human rights activist who has called on the Chinese government to be accountable for its actions. He has been detained, arrested, and sentenced repeatedly for his peaceful political activities, beginning with his participation in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and on four other occasions since.

UPDATE from Joe: Matt Browner Hamlin has an excellent post at Huffington about the significance of this award:

Today is a great day in the cause of freedom and human rights. People often ask me whether or not freedom can ever come for Tibetans. I’ve always believed that for change to occur in Tibet, there must be change in China first. Liu Xiaobo is one of the leading advocates for democracy in China whose work makes the very possibility of a resolution to the Tibet question a likelihood. It is dissidents like Liu, Wang Lixiong, and blogger Han Han who are going to bring meaningful political change in China, a likely precondition to freedom in Tibet. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than Liu Xiaobo, a truly courageous man of principle whose belief in democracy and freedom has the power to shake one of the largest countries in the world to its core.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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