What does Liu Xiaobo’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize mean for China?

Posted: October 8th, 2010 | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

The Nobel Committee in Oslo today awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波). Previous winners from Asia have included Burma political activist Aung San Suu Kyi and South Korea president Kim Dae-jung.

Liu was favourite to receive the award ever since an Irish bookmaker began paying out on him days before the announcement. The human rights activist has served two out of an 11-year prison sentence for co-authoring Charter 08, a petition that called for sweeping political reform. When Liu’s odds-on status emerged, the Chinese government began applying pressure on the Nobel organisation by accusing it of hypocrisy. Awarding the prize to Liu would contravene Alfred Nobel’s founding principles, it argued. But as time ticked down towards the announcement, the government’s tone became aggressive. It warned Norway that their thriving relationship would be threatened if Liu won the prize. Read the rest of this entry »