8 Oct 2010

Chinese dissident wins Nobel Peace Prize

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has won the Nobel Peace Prize. But fellow activist Ai Weiwei tells Channel 4 News it won’t change anything in China.

Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese human rights activist, is currently serving 11 years in prison for subversion of state power.

He was arrested in 2008 for launching a document called Charter ’08 which called for greater freedoms in China.

Liu Xiaobo is a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Amnesty International

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced in December 2009 following a trial from which western journalists were banned.

The punishment was condemned around the world.

Ai Weiwei – a Chinese architect and co-signatory of Charter ’08 – tonight told Channel 4 News he did not think the award would change the policies of the Chinese Government.

“After 60 years in power, the still forbid people to have freedom of speech and they still jail people who have different thinking and different opinions,” he said. “And people are still disappearing under this goverment.

“I don’t know that it will affect the policies of the government because they are quite stubborn on this matter.”

Liu Xiaobo struck me as an intense and earnest man writes International Editor Lindsey Hilsum
I met Liu Xiaobo about a year before he launched Charter '08, the manifesto for democracy in China which landed him in prison, and has now earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.

He struck me as an intense and earnest man, an intellectual concerned with the philosophical basis of Chinese society, as well as the contradiction between China's economic 'reform and opening up' and its closed political system.

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Liu Xiaobo's wife clutches a photo of him

Following the announcement Amnesty International called on the Chinese authorities to release all prisoners of conscience.

The charity’s deputy Asia-Pacific director, Catherine Baber said: “Liu Xiaobo is a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, we hope it will keep the spotlight on the struggle for fundamental freedoms and concrete protection of human rights that Liu Xiaobo and many other activists in China are dedicated to.

“This award can only make a real difference if it prompts more international pressure on China to release Liu, along with the numerous other prisoners of conscience languishing in Chinese jails for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”