Chinese Nobel Winner’s Wife Sees Many Ironies

 Chinese Nobel Winner’s Wife Sees Many Ironies

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Today it was announced that Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His wife, Liu Xia, told the media that she was excited by the news and hoped that the recognition would gain Liu an early release. But she was struck by the “irony” of the situation. Liu Xiaobo is locked up in jail in Liaoning Province.

Fifty-four-year-old Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in jail for authoring and spreading the content of Charter 08, which is an online petition calling on the Chinese government to improve its policies on democracy and human rights, including freedom of assembly, expression and religion. He was arrested in December 2008 and convicted of subversion of state power in 2009.

Liu Xia said although she and Liu hadn’t placed much importance on the Nobel Prize before, the award still came as welcome news. She said it means a lot to Liu and his situation, even though she didn’t think it was possible for him to get the prize.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has been saying recently that China not only needed to push for economic reform, but also reform in the political system, because without political reform, the fruits generated from economic reform would be lost. Therefore the goal of modernizing China would be impossible to achieve.

Liu Xia did not know if the Nobel Prize would have any positive impact on China’s political reform. But she said it was “ironic” that Wen Jiabao was talking about political reform, when Liu had been convicted of subversion of state power after spending his whole life pushing for political reform.

China’s foreign policy officials have not yielded any ground on their statement about Liu Xiaobo, saying that he was sentenced to jail because of his violation of China’s laws, and that rewarding him with the Nobel Peace Prize went against the mission of the Nobel Prize.

China has prohibited the news from appearing on any media outlet or website within the country. But many online users, including those who wrote in simplified Chinese characters (indicating they are probably from the Mainland), have left Chinese messages on the official website of the Nobel Prize in support of Liu Xiaobo.