Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today for his defense of fundamental human rights in China. As expected, the announcement in Norway sparked a furious response from Beijing, which accused the Nobel committee of honoring a “criminal.” Chinese state media reportedly immediately blacked out the news and the authorities blocked Nobel Prize reports from Web sites. In a statement on Friday evening, the Presidential Office in Taipei congratulated Liu for the honor, calling it a “historic” Nobel win that not only honored the 54-year-old, but also all other human rights activists in China.
In 2008, Liu helped organize the “Charter 08” petition, a manifesto signed by hundreds of Chinese intellectuals that called for sweeping political reforms. He was sentenced in December to 11 years in prison for “subversion.”