News / Asia

    Nobel Prize Winner Veteran of Long Campaign for Political Reform

    Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland holds up a photograph of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, 08 Oct. 2010
    Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland holds up a photograph of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, 08 Oct. 2010

    Liu Xiaobo is a 54-year-old writer and veteran of pro-democracy campaigns in China. Liu has been in and out of Chinese prisons over the past two decades because of his outspoken advocacy of human rights and political reform.

    Convicted of subversion

    The newest Nobel Peace laureate, Liu Xiaobo, is not likely to be able to accept his prize in person – he is serving an 11-year sentence in a Chinese prison.

    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."

    Chinese authorities last December convicted Liu of subversion, but gave no details of which Chinese laws he violated. He was detained a year before that, in December 2008, shortly before the publication of Charter 08 – a manifesto he helped draft that calls for sweeping political reforms.

    One of the original Charter 08 signers was 77-year-old Bao Tong, who says he thinks a Nobel Prize for Liu is a great thing for China.

    Bao says through Charter 08, Liu is calling on the government to be responsible to the country's Constitution and to be accountable to Chinese people. He describes this effort as a contribution to world peace.

    Bao is the highest ranking Chinese official to have served time in jail following the bloody government crackdown on demonstrators near Tiananmen Square in 1989.

    In and out of prison over two decades

    Liu also spent time in prison for his involvement in the 1989 protests. He was jailed again later for writings that questioned China's single-party political system.

    Wife humbled by Nobel decision

    Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (L) with his wife Liu Xia (file photo – 22 Oct. 2002)
    Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (L) with his wife Liu Xia (file photo – 22 Oct. 2002)

    Liu's wife, Liu Xia, says she has been moved by all the support she received throughout her husband's candidacy. Since he has been imprisoned this time, she has been allowed to visit him once a month.

    Liu says her husband is always in good spirits, but has health problems, including hepatitis.

    Some Chinese dissidents show no support

    Support for Liu was not universal. Some Chinese dissidents living overseas opposed his candidacy for the Nobel, and wrote an open letter accusing him of maligning fellow activists and not being tough enough on China's leaders.

    The Chinese government also was clear in its opposition to Liu's candidacy. At a recent briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu did not say Liu's name, but said he is not appropriate for a Nobel Prize because he is a lawbreaker.

    Jiang says she believes the Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to people who work to promote ethnic harmony, global friendship or arms reduction.

    Support from other human rights advocates

    Former Czech President Vaclav Havel (L) with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (file photo – 11 Sept. 2009)
    Former Czech President Vaclav Havel (L) with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (file photo – 11 Sept. 2009)

    One of the highest profile international pledges of support came from Czech playwright and former president Vaclav Havel, who praised Liu's "unflinching and peaceful advocacy for reform." Charter 08 was modeled on Charter 77, a manifesto that was a rallying document for activists in the former Czechoslovakia.

    American lawmakers also have called on President Obama to raise Liu's case when he meets Chinese President Hu Jintao at the G-20 summit in November.

    Supporters of Liu Xiaobo hold cards that read "We celebrate Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Prize" outside a park in Beijing, China, 08 Oct. 2010
    Supporters of Liu Xiaobo hold cards that read "We celebrate Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Prize" outside a park in Beijing, China, 08 Oct. 2010

    Patrick Poon, of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, an organization of writers, says he thinks the Nobel will raise greater interest in Liu's ideas inside China.

    "We feel like it will give a very strong influence on attracting new people to look at what Charter 08 is about, and also to read Liu Xiaobo's writing," Poon said.

    Charter 08 was initially signed by about 300 intellectuals, lawyers, peasants and workers. The document has circulated on the Internet, and now has 10,000 signatures.

    Wife helps keep up his spirits

    Liu's wife says although her husband is incarcerated, he still reads all sorts of books, except political publications, and is still writing.

    She says she brings Liu notebooks and pens, so that he can carry on his writing.

    She says, however, she is not allowed to talk to Liu about things that happen in the outside world.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora