Liu Xiaobo receives controversial Nobel Peace Prize

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Liu Xiaobo receives controversial Nobel Peace Prize

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The Nobel Peace Prize 2010 has been awarded to Liu Xiaobo in his absence.

The Chinese dissident is serving an 11-year jail sentence for subversive behaviour.

Liu, who is 54, has spent more than two decades campaigning for improved human rights and political reform in China.

The head of the Nobel Committee defended what was a controversial choice of recipient in China.

Thorbjorn Jagland said: “We regret that the laureate is not present. He is in isolation in a prison in north east China. Nor can the laureate’s wife Liu Xiao or his closest relatives be with us. No medal or diploma will therefore be presented here today. This fact alone shows that the award was necessary and appropriate. We congratulate Liu Xiaobo with this year’s Peace Prize.

“Liu has only exercised his civil rights. He has not done anything wrong. He must be released.”

China boycotted the ceremony, angry that someone it sees as a criminal convicted by a Chinese court was rewarded with the Nobel Prize. Several other countries also refused their invitations in support.

Actress Liv Ullmann read out Liu’s statement to the court that convicted him last year. It read: “I firmly believe that China’s political progress will not stop, and I, filled with optimism, look forward to the advent of a future free China. For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest of freedom, and China will in the end become a nation ruled by law, where human rights reign supreme.”

Liu has dedicated the award to the victims of the crackdown on protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989, a movement of which he was a prominent leader.