It is unclear who will accept the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and the Norwegian Nobel Committee may keep custody of it for the time being, its secretary said on Friday.
China blocked European officials from meeting with the wife of the imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner, cut off her phone communication and kept her under house arrest — acting on its fury over the award.
As China retaliated, U.N. human rights experts called on Beijing to free democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo from prison. Liu, a slight, 54-year-old literary critic, is in the second year of an 11-year prison term after being convicted of inciting subversion.
Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights” – a prize that enraged the Chinese government, which had warned the Nobel committee not to honor him.
Thorbjoern Jagland, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman, said Liu Xiaobo (LEE-o SHAo-boh) was a symbol for the fight for human rights in China and the government should expect that its policies face scrutiny.
A group of U.S. lawmakers is asking President Barack Obama to urge Chinese President Hu Jintao to release two prominent Chinese dissidents from prison.
The group of 29 Democratic and Republican members of the House of Representatives asked Mr. Obama to seek the release of Liu Xiaobo, an outspoken advocate for political freedom in China. He has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.”
China might well be poised to have its first-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner this week — if bookies are to be believed — an outcome that would make history, give a huge boost to democracy advocates inside China, and enrage Beijing’s authoritarian government.
No Chinese citizen has ever won the prize. But as of Monday, China’s most famous dissident, jailed 54-year-old writer Liu Xiaobo is the front-runner.
A Dublin-based online betting service announced Liu as the favorite at 3-1 odds.