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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid