Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dies in Police Custody

Liu Xiaobo
Liu Xiaobo

Jailed Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, who was undergoing a prison term, died Thursday in a hospital after a brief battle with terminal liver cancer.

The Nobel Committee had announced the Nobel Peace Prize 2010 for Liu who spearheaded a peaceful movement in China to see democratization of the political process in that country.

Nobel Committee said Thursday that the Chinese Government bears a heavy responsibility for his premature death, as Liu was not allowed to go abroad for medical treatment.

Liu was seized from his home in Beijing by the police on December 8, 2009, the original launch date of Charter 08, a blueprint stemming from civil society’s calls for fundamental legal and political reform in China.

The Nobel Prize was awarded to Liu for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. Liu was arrested by Chinese authorities for leading a campaign termed as Charter 08 that aimed to seek political reforms including democratically elected government for the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Thousands of people signed the Charter.

The Chinese authorities had expressed their displeasure to the Norwegian Nobel Committee over the Peace Prize to Liu.

Many of those who have won Nobel Peace Prize for non-violent movements in their countries have largely followed the Gandhian (Mahatma Gandhi) principles. They include Barack Obama, Muhammad Yunus, Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa and others.

But ironically Mahatma Gandhi, who led the non-violent struggle to get freedom for India from Britishers, was never given the Nobel Peace Prize.

Every year, since 1901, the Nobel Prize is awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace.

The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden.

Photo courtesy: Nobelprize.org

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Rakesh Raman