After last year’s surprising honor of the Nobel Peace Prize to American President Obama, the Nobel Prize committee has offered another controversial choice. The 2010 Nobel Prize is awarded to imprison Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo for his non-violent protests for human rights in China.
While the name of Liu is not well known to most of the world, the more than 1.3 billion people in Chirna know. Lius Xiabo, the founder of Chapter 08, and participated in the Tiananmen Square protests. He is the most famous dissident in China today. He stands arrested for inciting to subvert the government because of his views of the lack of Chinese human rights.
Liu was among six dissidents being considered for this year’s prize. The other Chinese citizens considered included Hu Jia, an HIV/AIDS rights activist and winner of the 2009 Sakharov Prize, Chen Guangcheng, a blind activist, has gained international recognition for the human rights conditions in rural China, Gao Zhisheng, one of the biggest human rights attorneys in China, Bao Tong, once aide to Zhao Ziyang, a reformist sympathizer, Rebiya Kadeer, exiled leader of the World Uighur Congress.
In selecting Liu, the Nobel committee praised the activist for his non-violent stance and his courage. The Committee ignored recent furious comments by Chinese diplomats if any Chinese dissidents were selected. The Chinese government has already begun censoring news reports regarding the Nobel Prizes from Internet sources.
While Liu serves time for subversion, world governments may continue to debate the implications of his selection. Chinese officials find the selection an insult and other governments believe that China, as an economic power, should recognize its obligation to promote human rights.
The Nobel Committee received a record number of nominations this year. Liu’s nomination received great international support from international notables, including the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Created as a lasting legacy of industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prizes are the most prestigious honors in the world. The formal awards ceremony will be held on December 10, 2010, the 109 anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.