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China Slams Nobel Peace Prize For Dissident


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


NPR's Rob Gifford reports from Beijing.

ROB GIFFORD: Jeffrey Wasserstrom of the University of California at Irvine says Liu Xiaobo himself is a complex figure.

JEFF WASSERSTROM: He's best thought of, I think, as a gadfly intellectual, who's continually calling attention to the flaws of the current system of government, but one who's tended to want to work within the system in a moderate and somewhat often conciliatory way.

GIFFORD: Most recently we was detained in 2008 for helping to write a document called Charter 08, which called for the Chinese Communist Party to guarantee civil liberties, judicial independence and political reform. He was sentenced last year to 11 years in jail. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu expressed the government's anger at the award.

JIANG YOU: (Through translator) The man you mentioned was sentenced by China's judicial system because he broke Chinese law. His behavior goes against the aims of the Nobel Prize Committee.

GIFFORD: This evening in China, Google searches for Liu's name were blocked and posts in Chinese language Internet chat rooms were removed by censors. But, Liu's fellow dissident Ai Weiwei praised the bravery of the Nobel Committee.

AI WEIWEI: (Through translator) This is an honor to an ordinary citizen, and also an honor to those who strive to make changes in China. It is also a humiliation to China's ruling party. Even after 60 years of being in power, they still refuse to provide citizens with the freedom to vote, freedom of association and freedom of speech.

GIFFORD: Rob Gifford, NPR News, Beijing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Rob Gifford
Rob Gifford is the NPR foreign correspondent based in Shanghai.