Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been named as this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, despite warnings from Beijing that his selection could damage China-Norway relations.
Liu was jailed in December 2009 for co-authoring a 2008 manifesto which called for, among other things, multi-party elections and free speech. He is currently serving an eleven-year sentence in a prison in Jinzhou, 500km outside of Beijing, for “inciting subversion of state power”. Previous reports suggest that he could well be among the last to find out about his prize.
A university academic, Liu has repeatedly been arrested and sentenced for his participation in human rights protests, including the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989.
His win, from prison, will be particular galling for the Chinese government, which has previously been outspoken about his nomination for the prize. Back in February, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said:
“If the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to such a person, it is obvious that it is totally wrong.”
The prize comes with an award of 10 million Swedish crowns (around £950,000), usually presented along with the prize itself at a ceremony in Oslo in December. It is not yet known whether anyone will collect Liu’s prize on his behalf.