This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been won by the chinese dissident and democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobao.
A protestor in Tianamen Square in 1989, the 55-year-old was jailed for 11 years last Christmas Day for gathering signatures for pro-democracy campaign, Charter 08.
He had been tipped as one of the favourites to win the Nobel award.
The Committee said his long and non-violent campaign was what clinched it:
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a pre-requesite for the fraternity between nations of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.” said Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland.
Liu Xiabao is the first chinese citizen to receive a Nobel Peace prize.
News of the award, however, has not gone down well with the chinese authorities.
International journalists wanting to speak to his wife were kept at the gates of her Beijing home by police. But they managed to speak to Liu Xia over the telephone.
“I can’t believe this is true and that my husband can’t be here to share the moment. I feel so sad about that. I think the award brings honour but also responsibility. When he hears the news he will be surprised but happy and also a bit uneasy.”
State censorship is such in China that Liu Xiabao may not even be aware he has won the Nobel Prize.
Chinese state television only mentioned the award to call it an “obscenity.”
Internet access to reports have been blocked and the chinese government has summoned Norway’s ambassador for a meeting with officials.