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Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Washington Post reports that Liu is currently in jail for helping publish the “Charter 08,” which demanded, among other things, “a judiciary not controlled by the Communist Party, meaningful elections and the freedoms of association, assembly, expression and religion.”
Apparently Liu has never been afraid to put everything on the line:
In 1989, he left a cushy post as a visiting scholar at Columbia University to return to China to participate in demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
On the night of June 3, 1989, he was one of four dissidents who negotiated with the People’s Liberation Army to allow the last several hundred students to peacefully vacate the square. After the crackdown he spent two years in jail.
Liu was dispatched to a re-education camp in 1996 for co-writing an open letter that demanded the impeachment of then-president Jiang Zemin.
From then until his arrest in December, 2008, two days before the charter was released, Liu lived a life of constant harassment by the security services. He was repeatedly questioned because of his views or his essays, which were passed around the Internet by thousands of his readers.
Here is Liu’s wikipedia entry, which is growing right now.
It hardly needs to be said…Liu’s going to have a hard time following in the footsteps of last year’s winner.