Liu Xiaobo, 54, imprisoned Chinese writer and political activist has been awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee’s decision may infuriate the government in Beijing.  Liu is known as the principal author of “Chapter 08,” which called for democratic reforms and caused a stir in underground circles after being circulated in December 2008.

Mr Liu is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for his non-violent political activities, which include being a member of Charter 08, a group of brave campaigners for the respect for human rights and the rule of law in China.

The Nobel Committee pointed out in its citation for Liu Xiaobo’s award, China has made huge advances economically over recent years, lifting hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty. But that achievement has not been matched on the political front, as anyone demonstrating in favour of free speech and real democracy tends to get squashed quickly, accused of anti-State activities.

The Committee stresses that human rights and Peace are inextricably linked. Liu Xiaobo is an academic who has lectured abroad as well as in China. He well deserves the prize, which will add to the international pressure for his release. By awarding the 2010 Prize to him, the Nobel Committee has restored its reputation after last year’s misjudged decision to give the distinction to US President Barack Obama.

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