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China Lashes Out at Imprisoned Dissident Xiaobo Winning Nobel Peace Prize

October 8, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the imprisoned Liu Xiaobo for his human rights work in China, much to the country's dismay. Angus Walker of Independent Television News reports from Beijing on the local reaction.

JEFFREY BROWN: And we turn to the Nobel Peace Prize, and anger from China, as it was awarded today to a jailed dissident.

We begin with a report from Angus Walker of Independent Television News in Beijing.

ANGUS WALKER: Hardly peaceful outside Liu Xiaobo’s former home in Beijing today. Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a jailed dissident has angered China’s government.

As you can see, the Chinese authorities are not keen on our speaking to Liu Xiaobo’s wife, even though she sent a message to us outside the gates of her house that she would like to speak to us.

But, earlier this week, his wife told us she can’t be sure Liu Xiaobo, locked in a crowded prison cell more than 300 miles away, even knew he was a possible winner.

Liu Xiaobo was in Tiananmen Square 21 years ago. Then and now, his prize has been democracy. He’s paid a heavy price, sentenced to 11 years in jail last Christmas. China’s one-party state calls him a criminal. And this is his crime: Charter 08, a published manifesto which calls for democracy and human rights.

XIA YE LIANG, professor, Peking University: I think the one-party dictatorship will be ended within 10 years.

ANGUS WALKER: Despite the threat of long prison sentences, other dissidents spoke out publicly today.

XIA YE LIANG: What is the Charter 08? Who is Liu Xiaobo? As far as a feeling of people know this, that is the kind of the change, the start of change.

ANGUS WALKER: On China’s main domestic TV channels, no mention of a Chinese Nobel winner. Officially, Liu Xiaobo’s prize is being described as an obscenity.