Nobel Peace Prize Goes To Liu Xiaobo (Updated)

From The Guardian:

China’s best-known dissident today won the prestigious Nobel peace prize from the prison cell where he is serving 11 years for incitement to subvert state power.

Liu Xiaobo was detained at his Beijing home in December 2008 after co-authoring Charter 08, a call for democratic reforms in China.

The decision will infuriate the Chinese government. A foreign ministry spokeswoman said last week that awarding Liu the prize would contradict the aims of the award. The director of Norway’s Nobel institute said a senior Chinese official had warned that Sino-Norwegian relations would be damaged if Liu won.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

CHINA’S authoritarian state collided last night with the limits of its rising economic power and increasingly aggressive international diplomacy, as the jailed political reformist Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel peace prize.

Liberal Chinese intellectuals were shocked when the writer and activist was sentenced to 11 years’ jail on Christmas Day last year for “inciting subversion of state power” in connection with his role in organising a manifesto for constitutional democracy called Charter 08.

Some scholars were equally shocked last night to hear the Norwegian Nobel Committee had rallied to his cause. ”I’m so glad, this is great. There is light,” said Cui Weiping, a Beijing film critic, before breaking into tears.

Chinese internet message services and micro-blogs were filled with congratulatory messages – but not all Chinese are celebrating. Internet comments were censored after a short delay and international satellite news channels temporarily blocked at the Herald’s office in Beijing.

See also:

– “Jailed Chinese Dissident’s ‘Final Statement’” from the New York Times
– “What Liu Xiaobo And The Nobel Peace Prize Stand For” from Forbes
– “Liu Xiaobo: a martyr for democracy” from the Financial Times
– “China Outraged Over Nobel Peace Prize Selection” from VOA
– “Ministry of Truth Bans Reporting n Nobel Peace Prize” from CDT
– “Liu Xiaobo Wins the Nobel Peace Prize” from Evan Osnos on the New Yorker blog
– “The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize citation” from AP
– Read more about Liu Xiaobo and Charter 08 via CDT.

Watch the Nobel Committee’s announcement:

Also, Lindsey Hilsum writes about why China won a Nobel for peace but not for science:

The Chinese government is pouring millions into scientific research, but the hierachical structure of education, emphasis on respecting authority, and inculcated fear of speaking out of turn mitigates against brilliant young scientists innovating and inventing. Technically, they’re very skilled, but ground-breaking research requires scientists to experiment without fear of failure or official censure.

It’s a lesson the Chinese government does not want to hear: you don’t get innovation without freedom of speech. The same political and cultural constriction which stops China winning scientific Nobels, have led to a Chinese dissident winning the peace prize.

The Guardian reports on reactions inside China:

October 8, 2010 2:21 AM
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