Well-known Chinese dissident, writer and literature professor Liu Xiaobo has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.Immediately after he was proclaimed the winner on Friday, his wife, Liu Xia, said that police were arranging to take her to Professor Liu’s prison in northeast China, where she hoped to inform him of the award. Since then her mobile phone has been switched off and her whereabouts unknown.
The world’s Nobel Peace Prize Winner remains unreachable in a prison shared with 500 other inmates. Police kept reporters away from the prison where Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion. His lawyer said that Liu’s wife — who had been hoping to visit him Saturday and tell him the news of the award — has “disappeared” and he is worried she may be in police custody while others believe that she is under house arrest.
Controversy stems the Nobel Prize in China amid a media blackout. Chinese authorities considered the awarding of the Prize to be a ‘descration of the prize.’ However, critics of Chinese politics beg to differ, “If Liu Xiaobo can win this award, it will play a significant role in pushing forward China’s political transformation. It will also truly encourage civil rights defenders in China. And it may even help get Mr. Liu Xiaobo his freedom earlier,” human rights lawyer Teng Biao, a Charter 08 signee, said in an interview.
A Nobel Peace Prize for Mr. Liu would be seen primarily as recognition of his involvement in Charter 08, a manifesto he penned that calls for greater freedom of speech, human rights and democracy in China. More than 10,000 others have since signed the document, despite the fact it is difficult to find it on the heavily censored Chinese Internet. During the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, Liu also saved hundreds of students by persuading them to leave the Square as army tanks rolled in.
Liu remains the only mainland China citizen to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Peace Prize has been handed out, but Liu’s liberties are still limited – while there is yet to be peace.