The Nobel Committee has awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Taiwan’s Central News Agency (中央社) reports that Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia (劉霞), said in response to the news that she hopes Liu can be released from prison soon, but she felt the news was somewhat ironic.
Several days ago in the lead up to the announcement of the prize, the Taipei Society urged the Nobel Committee to award the prize to Liu Xiaobo. According the the CNA report the Society said that, “a Nobel Peace Prize for Liu would mean not only recognition of his long-term dedication to human rights and democratic reforms in China, but would also send a clear message to the Chinese communist regime that the world stands in solidarity with Chinese people who share Liu’s vision for a strong, prosperous and democratic China that respects individual freedom and human rights.”
Liu is one of the authors of Charter 08 (零八憲章), a manifesto for political reform and democratisation in China. After the charter was released in 2008 I wrote about how the charter’s contents related to Taiwan. Writing in Foreign Policy several days ago, Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch, noted that Liu winning the Nobel Prize would “would make it impossible to prevent the mass diffusion of Charter 08 and Liu’s other writings.”
I have translated some reactions to Liu’s Nobel Prize win by Taiwanese people on Twitter and Plurk.
soundfury: 太恭喜曉波，恭喜各位中國朋友！[translation: Greatest congratulations to Liu Xiaobo. Congratulations to every Chinese friend!]
DPPonline: 我們也要指出，自劉曉波遭羈押、判刑迄今，相較於美國、歐盟各國政府的聲援與行動，馬政府卻一貫緘默以對，為推動兩岸交流協商而對中國政府打壓民主改革派人士的行徑視若無睹 [translation: We want to point out, from when Liu Xiaobo was detained and sentenced, the American, EU and every country’s government appealed and took action while the Ma government was silent. In order to promote cross-strait exchanges and detente they turned a blind eye to the Chinese government’s oppression of those people promoting democracy.]
thecarol: 我在新浪貼了一條日文新聞一條英文新聞，不知道幾時會被刪。但我他媽的才不管！一定要貼！[translation: I posted the news on Sina (a Chinese website) in English and Japanese. I don’t know what time it will be deleted. However, it doesn’t fucking matter! I had to post it!]
ilya: 這是所有在監獄裡面的良心犯的獎啊！[translation: This is a prize for all the prisoners of conscience!]
拷秋勤–范姜: 聽到劉曉波得諾貝爾和平獎的消息實在太令人振奮了 [translation: When I heard the news that Liu Xiaobo had won the Nobel Peace Prize it made me feel really inspired.]
Further to the DPP’s comments on Twitter, they have issued a statement (中文) on the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. The statement calls on the Chinese government to release Liu and allow him to travel overseas to accept his prize.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, issued a statement congratulating Liu. “Awarding the Peace Prize to him is the international community’s recognition of the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms,” the Dalai Lama said. He also called on the Chinese government to release Liu Xiabo and other prisoners of conscience.
Update: Some responses from Taiwan’s government have now been reported by CNA. A quote from their report:
President Ma Ying-jeou said in a press release Friday that Liu’s award was “not only an individual honor but also has great historical significance for the development of human rights in China.”
Quoting his own speech of June 4, Ma urged China to treat dissidents with lenience because “it would convince people throughout the world that the rise of mainland China contributes not only to the cause of peace, but is also a positive development from the standpoint of the universal values of freedom, democracy, and human rights.”
The article goes on to quote Premier Wu Den-yih and Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan.
*Photo from Wikipedia.