October 11, 2010

Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner dedicates it to victims of Tiananmen Square

POLITICS - Imprisoned pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo has dedicated his Nobel Peace Prize winnings to the victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Liu has been imprisoned in China for XX years for promoting democracy in the Communist country.

Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobo, was recently allowed to visit him in prison and said the following in a Twitter message:

“Brothers, I have returned,” she wrote. “Seen Xiaobo. The prison told him the news about his award on the night of the 9th.”

The Norwegian-based Nobel Peace Prize committee named Liu the winner on Friday, honouring Liu’s more than two decades of advocacy of human rights and peaceful democratic change, including demonstrations for democracy at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 and a manifesto for political reform that he co-authored in 2008 and which led to his latest jail term.

The Chinese government meanwhile refuses to admit the Tiananmen Square Massacre ever happened, and continues to face international ridicule for refusing to come clean about the events in June 1989 when it sent in the army and tanks to disperse a crowd in Tiananmen Square and ultimately killed 7,000 to 10,000 Chinese people.

Liu Xiaobo is currently serving an 11 year prison sentence. The 54-year-old literary critic is hardly a dangerous figure, but his advocacy of democracy and change in China is seen as a threat to China's ruling Communist party. His wife Liu Xia is currently under house arrest and has had her cellphone connection cut.

Liu’s wife has said she hopes to go to Norway to collect the Nobel medal and its prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (about $1.5 million) and then following her husband's wishes, she will attempt to distribute the funds to families of the Tiananmen Square Massacre victims. Its not a lot, about $150 to each of 10,000 families, but its a lot more than the Chinese government is willing to do.

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