News / Asia

Rights Groups Hail Peace Prize Award to Chinese Democracy Advocate

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

Multimedia

Audio

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has won the 2010 Nobel  Peace Prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human  rights in China." The Norwegian Nobel Committee says it has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace.

The Chinese dissident was rumored to be the winner,  so the announcement in Oslo was not a big surprise.

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China," Thorbjoern Jagland of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee announced.


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

His struggle has lasted for decades. Liu was jailed after the 1989 Tiananmen Square Demonstrations and the pro-democracy activist, is currently serving an 11-year prison term imposed last year for subversion. Corinna-Barbara Francis, a China researcher for Amnesty International says winning the prize has big implications.

"We hope that this will be a message not only to the Chinese Government which it certainly is that these kind of individuals are valued by the international community, but also a message to the international community that they need to do more to protect and speak up for these kind of individuals," she said.

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."

China's foreign ministry issued a statement denouncing the award saying giving it to Liu is a blasphemy to the peace prize and runs counter to its principles. It blocked TV and internet news of the prize announcement as well as text messages containing the Chinese characters of Liu's name.

Francis would like countries to stand up to China and be critical of such censorship. She says many have been reluctant to do so because of China's economic and diplomatic clout. Francis says China's standing in the world means it needs to improve its human rights record.

"China is an emerging if not an emerged global power, and with that comes responsibilities not just to its own citizens but to the international community," she said.

Tom Porteous, with Human Rights Watch says giving Liu the prize sends a far different message than last year's award, which went to U.S. President Barack Obama, less than a year into his term.

"Last year was an interesting choice, it was a controversial choice, this year is also controversial," he said. "I think in a very practical way it's going to force the Chinese government into a difficult position with regard to the internal situation within China."

Right now, Porteous says, few Chinese know of Liu and his campaign for freedom and human rights. The Nobel Peace Prize will change that he says.

"Millions of Chinese are going to be asking who is this man, why was he put in prison, what is Charter 08 which is the charter that he more or less instigated calling for greater political freedom, greater respect for human rights in China," said Porteous.

Liu joins a number of distinguished dissidents in winning the Nobel Peace Prize, including Czech former president and playwright Vaclav Havel and the late Soviet nuclear physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov. Liu is the first person ever to win the prize while in jail, although other Nobel winners have been under house arrest, or imprisoned before  winning the prize.

Liu is not expected to be able to travel to Oslo to collect it in person, nor is it clear whether Chinese authorities will allow his wife to travel to collect the prize.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs