News / Asia

Jailed Chinese Activist Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo (File)
Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo (File)

The imprisoned Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In bestowing the honor on a prominent dissident, the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo has issued an explicit challenge, calling on China to respect political rights as it rises toward economic great-power status.

Sarah Williams' Q&A with VOA Beijing Correspondent Stephanie Ho:


Liu Xiaobo was considered the frontrunner for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, despite warnings from the government of China that the action would lead to diplomatic strains with Norway. Noting that Liu is in prison for disseminating Charter 08, which called for greater freedom of assembly, expression and religion, the Nobel Committee said there is a "close connection between human rights and peace."


READ MORE: 3 Questions: China and the Nobel Peace Prize


"Such rights are the pre-requisite for the fraternity between nations of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will," noted Committee chairman Torbjørn Jaglund, as he was announcing this year's selection.

Liu is a Beijing writer and former literature professor.  His sentencing last December to an 11-year term for "inciting the subversion of state power" has drawn sharp criticism from human rights groups, Western governments and writers around the world.

CHINESE REACTION

VOA Beijing - Stephanie Ho

  • "Inside China... the government has been making an effort, apparently, to have a total news blackout on the fact that he's been awarded a Nobel prize. I mean, China would like to win a Nobel, but the thought of awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident who is in jail is not something that the Chinese government would want to make public. So there's been no news announcement on TV. In fact, when the international news channels tried to make an announcement, the Chinese apparently tried to pull the plug. My TV has been cut off quite a few times whenever the announcement comes up."

Taking questions immediately after the announcement, Jaglund made it clear that this year's Nobel Peace award aims to confront China's suppression of dissent, just as earlier Nobels have carried an explicitly political message.

"China has become a very big power in economic terms as well as political terms. And it is normal that big powers should be under criticism," Jaglund said. "After the Second World War, the United States was the biggest power in the world, and we constantly debated what kind of United States we wanted, and many [people] criticized them all the time, which was an advantage for the United States. And when China is rising, and becoming a big power, we should have the right to criticize and ask what kind of China we want to have."

Jaglund said that the committee had been unable to reach Liu or his wife, but that it had been in contact with the government of China. Liu will be invited to Oslo to receive his award in December, but there is no indication that authorities in his home country will allow him to travel.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid