Entries in Liu Xiaobo (6)


Insiders Hint Arab Spring Activist Could Get Nobel Peace Prize

(Top L-R) Egyptian Israa Abdel Fattah and Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni (Bottom L-R) Egyptian Google executive Wael Ghonim and Afghan human rights activist Sima Samar who could be potential candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) Who's going to win the Nobel Peace Prize on October 7th? As usual, the names of this year's 241 candidates for the award have been kept secret, but that hasn't stopped the speculation. All the buzz is that one of the activists involved in the Arab Spring will get the phone call from Stockholm a few minutes before the official announcement.

According to insiders, the frontrunners include Israa Abdel Fattah, cofounder of April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni and Egyptian Google executive Wael Ghonim.

If any of them do win, they will be the youngest Peace Laureate ever, with all three in their late 20s or early 30s. The youngest to date is Irish peace campaigner Mairead Corrigan, who was 32 years old when she won in 1976.

Other names said to be in the mix are Afghan human rights campaigner Sima Samar, Burmese opposition leader and previous winner Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and ex-German chancellor (and perennial nominee) Helmut Kohl.

Organizations can also be awarded the prize, and the Russian civil rights group Memorial, and the European Union, are believed to be in the running this year.

Nominations are made by an array of international academics, lawyers, previous winners, the Nobel Committee and others. They are not made public, although some are leaked by those who put their names forward.

A winner is chosen by a committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament, and the prize awarded in a ceremony in Oslo, which this year takes place on December 10.

Incredibly, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Benito Mussolini have all been nominated for the peace prize. Hitler was put forward in 1939 by a member of the Swedish parliament. Wisely, he later withdrew his choice. Stalin was nominated in 1945 for his efforts to end World War II. Mahatma Gandhi was nominated five times but never won the award.

What exactly are the criteria for a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate?

The will of Alfred Nobel states that it should be awarded to the "person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Inevitably, the Nobel Peace Prize attracts controversy. The most heavily criticized was in 1973 when the award was given to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho for their contribution to the peace negotiations in Vietnam.

Eyebrows were raised when President Obama was awarded the prize in 2009, less than a year after his election.

Last year's choice of Chinese dissident Liu Xiobo caused a diplomatic storm. Liu is still imprisoned in China on political charges.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


China’s Jailed Nobel Laureate, One Year Later 

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(JINZHOU, China) -- Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiobo, remains in his prison cell in the northeastern Chinese city of Jinzhou, while the world awaits the announcement of this year’s recipient, and the Chinese government grows even more intolerant of dissent.

Liu’s prize famously sat on an empty seat during last year’s award ceremony in Olso, Norway, because the Chinese authorities did not allow him or his family to be in attendance.  Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” when he authored a petition calling for pro-democracy reforms in China.

As for what has changed one year later, 2011 has been marked by the silence of Chinese activists “achieved through disappearance, intimidation and abuse,” Time magazine noted.
Even Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, who was placed under severe supervision after he was awarded the prize last year, is still not allowed to communicate with the outside world, an ABC News crew found out first hand last year when they tried to visit her home. Uniformed and plainclothes security guards had cordoned off the area.

Liu’s father passed away in September and, according to an Agence France Presse interview with Liu’s brother, Liu Xiaoxun, the Chinese authorities, in an unusual act of temporary leniency, allowed Liu out of his cell to attend his father’s memorial.  Liu has also recently been allowed visitors.

His wife visited him in prison in August and his three brothers were allowed a visit earlier this month.
The Chinese authorities have been especially sensitive this year to any semblance of dissent, given the events that have been unfolding in the Arab world.

There is even new legislation being proposed that would make secret detention -- imprisonment without any notice to family members -- legal for periods of up to six months in cases of terrorism, state security or serious corruption.  Human rights groups worry that the legislation will be used to quash dissent.

As for China’s displeasure with Norway’s decision to award the Peace Prize to Liu, the AFP also reported that in the past year, China has continued to voice its protest by targeting Norway’s salmon industry. Chinese customs officials have reportedly placed Norwegian salmon imports under an added level of scrutiny, requiring so many additional inspections that the salmon rotted away in Chinese warehouses.

Copyrightg 2011 ABC News Radio


China Cracks Down on Nobel Prize Security Ahead of Ceremony

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BEIJING) -- As Friday's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony gets underway, China is making no attempts to hide its feelings on the matter.

"Today in Norway's Oslo, there will be a farce staged: 'The Trial of China'," was the headline of the Global Times.  "Most nations' oppose peace prize to Liu," read the China Daily.

Since the prize was announced two months ago China has waged a campaign to discredit the award, and its recipient, jailed activist Liu Xiaobo.  It has suspended trade with Norway and sent diplomats across the world to strong-arm other nations into boycotting the event.

"The Chinese government is not happy that Liu Xiaobo is receiving this award, and that was to be expected," Minky Warden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, told ABC News.  "But the overreaction that we've seen from Beijing is really not worthy of a government that projects abroad as a strong, confident, growing, responsible power."

Restaurants have been told not to accept large reservations Friday night, for fear that Liu's supporters may gather to celebrate his win.  And the government has clamped down hard on media.  The websites for BBC and CNN have been blocked since Thursday, and all television reports on Liu or the Nobel prize are blacked out by censors.

Moreover, hundreds of people in China have been arrested, put under house arrest or blocked from leaving the country -- measures designed to stop them from trying to attend Friday's ceremony or talk to international media.  Among them, is Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobao, who has not been seen or heard from in almost two months.

It was one year ago that Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for co-authoring a pro-democracy manifesto, called Charter '08.  But Liu has been a thorn in the side of Chinese authorities since his leading role in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


US Says It Will Attend Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department on Wednesday confirmed that its ambassador to Oslo, Barry White, will attend the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on Friday.
China has campaigned for countries to boycott the event and has already received support from 19 countries, including American allies like Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, and Colombia who will not attend.  This year's winner is Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, who is currently imprisoned in China for his involvement with Charter 08, a manifesto promoting democratization and political reform in China.
On Wednesday, the State Department refused to criticize those countries publicly. “All we can say is that we will be there on Friday to observe this recognition, and we know that we will not be alone,” spokesperson PJ Crowley told reporters. “Different countries will make up their own minds,” he added when pressed.

“We obviously strongly support the statement that was made by the Nobel committee in selecting Liu Xiaobo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. We think it's well-deserved. We think there absolutely should be a ceremony. We think there absolutely should be recognition. We think that Mr. Liu and his wife should be there to be able to receive, you know, the award,” Crowley said.

When announcing this year's winner, The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that it chose Xiaobo as the 2010 Peace Prize recipient "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." The committee added, "The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


Chinese Government Tightens Surveillance After Dissident's Nobel Win

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BEIJING) -- When human rights activist Yu Jie returned to his China home Thursday, he immediately noticed that something was different.

"Ten minutes after I got back from a trip to the U.S., the police called me to say that from now I would need a police escort anytime I wanted to leave the house," he said.

Accustomed to the close scrutiny from Chinese authorities, Yu recently published a controversial book about China's Premier.

But in the week since imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize, Yu says, the situation has intensified.

"It's even stricter than it was during the Olympic Games," he said. "On Friday afternoon, I wanted to have dinner with my friends but the police told me that I couldn't go because the police said all those under surveillance cannot leave their houses. Then on Sunday night, I just went out to dinner and drove myself. The police followed me to the restaurant and took a table next to us."

Chinese censors have mostly succeeded in hiding the news of Liu's prize; most Chinese don't even know who he is. The literary critic and activist is serving an 11-year prison sentence for his role in authoring a manifesto, known as Charter '08, which called for democratic reforms in China.

China's foreign ministry called the award "a desecration." Liu's wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest since her husband was awarded the prize.

Yu Jie accepts that police won't be leaving him alone anytime soon. But it doesn't change his commitment to the work he and others are doing.

"I don't think it will get better soon," he said. "It could even get worse. My phones are being tapped, my e-mails are being read and there are police sitting outside my apartment at all times.

"But none of it will stop me from continuing the work I have been doing."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Chinese Dissident

Photo Courtesy - Mike Clarke/AFP/ Getty Images(OSLO, Norway) -- The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".

Xiaobo receives the award while serving an 11-year sentence in prison.  He was imprisoned in December of last year for his role in creating a manifesto, titled "Charter '08", calling for democratic reform in China.

While the news was being announced, television coverage on media outlets BBC and CNN both went black in China.

Speculation is rising on how Beijing will react to the news.  Chinese leaders had previously warned of damage to trade between Norway and China should the prize be awarded to Xiaobo.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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