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Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo wins 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-10-08

Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, in a move that has prompted both harsh criticism from Chinese authorities and calls by Western leaders for Liu's release.

Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said. Known for joining student protesters on hunger strike in 1989 only days before the army crushed the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement, Liu has frequently infuriated Chinese authorities with his criticisms of China’s one-party rule.

A former professor of literature, Liu received an eleven-year prison sentence in December 2009 for campaigning for political freedoms, including publishing online texts that were critical of China’s government. Liu's was found guilty of "inciting subversion of state power." The verdict was condemned by rights groups and the governments of the US and various European countries.

The dissident is well known for helping organise the Charter 08 petition, which demanded major reforms.  It was inspired by the Charter 77 petition that was a fundamental text in the human rights movement in communist Czechoslovakia in 1977. “The Chinese people have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles”, reads the Charter 08 text, which Liu was one of the first to sign.

A history of clashes with Chinese government

Liu has a history of clashing with the Chinese government. In 1989 he was fired from Beijing Normal University and served 20 months in prison following his participation in the Tiananmen protests. From 1996 to 1999, he spent three years in a “labour re-education” camp for having called for sweeping political reforms and the release of imprisoned Tiananmen protesters.

On June 3, 2008, the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square events, Liu was interviewed by FRANCE 24. Following the interview, Liu said he was interrogated by Chinese police about the interview.

Liu was suggested for the prize by dissident playwright and former president of Czechoslovakia Vaclav Havel, and by the rights group International Pen.

Reacting to news of the prize on Friday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying warned that relations between China and Norway would be hurt by Liu's prize.

Imprisoned Chinese dissident Hu Jia, also known for his political activism, was considered one of the favourites for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008. In the end, it was former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari who received the prize.
 

Date created : 2010-10-08

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