Jailed Chinese writer wins Nobel Peace Prize

by Kelly MacNeil on October 8, 2010

Although the Nobel Peace Prize was announced on Friday, the winner will be unable to accept it. The Toronto Star reports that the prize was awarded to Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo, who is currently in a Chinese prison after he was sentenced to 11 years behind bars for the publishing of an anti-communist petition.

Liu is the first Chinese citizen to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize, and the news source claims that Chinese officials were angered by the announcement,comma which was made in Oslo, Norway. The Communist Party rushed to block any news of the award including all international broadcasts and the BBC.

Liu’s wife said that she was shocked by the news that the 54-year-old writer had won, and added that she would shortly be making her monthly visit to him in Jinzhou Prison.

“I feel as though I have been swept over by a hundred different emotions,” Liu Xia told the news source.

Liu Xiaobo has been an active protestor of the Chinese government for more than 20 years as one of a small number of outspoken supporters of democracy in China. In 2008, he was the lead author of Charter ’08, the document that would later get him sent to prison. In it, Liu called for a transition from the rigid communist rule of China, to a multi-party democracy. He has been backed by a number of staunch advocates of peace including Bishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama – both of whom have won the the award in the past.

While his win has been lauded by human rights leaders in China and around the globe, it has been harshly criticized by the Chinese government. In a statement released Friday afternoon, the government called Liu a criminal, adding that to give him the award was “blasphemy against the peace prize.”

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