Reactions: Chinese Dissident Awarded Nobel Peace Prize
Barack Obama, the Chinese government and others have already weighed in on Thursday's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, in which Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo became the first Chinese resident and citizen to receive the award.
Xiaobo is currently in prison serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power.” Specifically, he helped put together the “Charter '08” petition in 2008 to call for massive reforms to the Chinese political system.
He could not attend the ceremony to accept the honor. The award was instead placed on an empty chair before the audience.
“Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law,” Obama said in a statement.
The Chinese government is furious. The government has called the award a “political farce.” They blacked out the telecast of the ceremony and called for a boycott. Russia has joined them in the protest.
A Norwegian actress read Xiaobo’s words at the ceremony.
“There is nothing criminal in anything I have done. If charges are brought against me because of this, I have no complaints,” Xiaobo said.
Reactions are piling up all over the world:
- President Obama today issued a statement hailing the award. “Mr. Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was,” he said.
- A friend of Xiaobo and fellow Chinese dissident gave an interview to Spiegel Online. He is currently under house arrest. “China cannot be democratized overnight,” he said.
- An L.A. Times editorial compares the Chinese reaction to actions by Nazi Germany when they put pressure on the Peace Prize committee to not give the honor to dissident journalist Carl von Ossietzky.
- An editorial in the Taipei Times celebrates the award.
- Foreign Policy magazine provides a list of other important political dissidents currently in prison around the world.
- Tiawanese animators satirize China's answer to the Nobel Peace Prize. And yes, there is a giant CG panda involved.