Chinese jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today in absentia, amid continuing anger (WashPost) from the Chinese government. His chair on the podium was left empty as China has refused to release Liu, who is serving an eleven-year jail sentence, or allow his family and friends to attend the ceremony. China also pressured other countries to boycott the event (NYT). According to the Nobel Committee's website, as of December 6, fifteen countries had declined the invitation to attend the ceremony. News reports indicate a few more have declined since then. China blocked broadcasts of the ceremony on television and the Internet. On the eve of the ceremony, the Chinese government also blocked access to several foreign media outlets, intensified a crackdown on political activists (WSJ), and ratcheted up its campaign to discredit the awards. China created its own peace prize, the "Confucius Peace Prize" and awarded it Thursday to Lien Chan, the former Taiwanese vice president, at a ceremony in Beijing.
During the ceremony, Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland called for the immediate release of Liu (BBC). On Thursday, the Nobel committee defended its award to Liu as based on "universal values," rejecting Beijing's accusation that it is trying force Western ideas on China. Jagland told a news conference, "It is a signal to China that it would be very important for China's future to combine economic development with political reforms and support for those in China fighting for basic human rights" (Reuters).http://www.cfr.org/about/newsletters/editorial_detail.html?id=2326
On CFR's Asia Unbound blog, expert Elizabeth Economy writes that China constructs its own reality when reality doesn't conform to Chinese interests.
Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch argues that Beijing's far-reaching efforts to keep Chinese supporters of Liu Xiaobo from attending the ceremony in Oslo reveal an increasingly anxious undercurrent in China (ForeignPolicy).
Read a profile of Liu Xiaobo, including a 2006 video message from him and links to some of his writing.
Read the full text of Charter 08, the document co-authored by Liu in 2008 which calls for political reform, greater human rights, and end to one-party rule in China.