Chinese human rights champion takes peace prize

By staff

Chinese human rights campaigner Liu Xiaobo has won the 2010 Nobel peace prize.

The dissident, sentenced to 11 years in prison on Christmas Day last year for subversion, was the winner of the $1.5 billion award.

He has been active in challenging the Chinese government for over 20 years, including participation in the doomed Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Mr Liu was one of over 300 Chinese signatories to Charter 08, a manifesto signed on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He is a long-term exponent of non-violent protest.

After meeting in secret the Norwegian committee considering the prize granted it to Mr Liu as a “symbol” of all those struggling for human rights against China’s ruling Communist party.

“Over the past decade China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show an equal,” the committee’s head said.

“The fight for international human rights should be given to Chinese citizens… Liu Xiaobo has been one of the foremost fighters for human rights and a symbol of it.”

The announcement was greeted by a string of positive responses from ordinary Chinese people on the Nobel peace prize’s website.

“Mr Liu the great Chinese man – don’t give up,” one said.

“I am proud of Liu Xiaobo, and I am ashamed of the Chinese government,” another added.

Last year’s Nobel peace prize was won by US president Barack Obama.