Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel committee seems to have rehabilitated itself this year. Instead of awarding, as it did last year, the Nobel Peace Prize to someone who’s effectively the commander in chief of an army, actively at war in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the committee decided today it should go to someone who deserves it: Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident and writer currently serving an 11-year sentence for “incitement to subvert state power.” Although the term Peace is subject to debate, no one seems to question the courage or integrity of Liu Xiaobo, one of the rare voices that have spoken up for the establishment of multi-party democracy in China. He co-authored in 2008, along with 300 other dissidents and human rights activists Charter ’08, a blueprint for democratization and political reform in China. Human Rights Watch describes Charter ’08 as “the birth act of a real civil society in China.” The charter is a manifesto for democracy and human rights in China and is much the product of the Internet age. The importance of Liu Xiaobo as a non-violent and powerful figure within the seemingly growing Chinese civil society may have been the crucial motive behind his arrest by the Chinese authorities who continue to harass other signatories of the document and seem infuriated by the dissident’s Nobel win.

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