Beijing: A group of scholars, writers and
lawyers in China is urging that this year`s Nobel Peace Prize
be awarded to a Chinese dissident jailed for drafting a major
call for political reform.
Liu Xiaobo, one of China`s most prominent political
activists, wrote Charter 08, a daring appeal for expanded
political freedom, stronger civil rights and an end to
Communist Party`s political dominance.
He was convicted last December of inciting to subvert
state power, a vaguely worded charge routinely used to jail
dissidents in China.
Liu, a former professor, was sentenced to 11 years in
prison, the harshest penalty handed down for that charge since
it was introduced, human rights groups say.
In an open letter posted yesterday on Boxun, an overseas
Chinese website, the group cited Liu`s "unswerving efforts to
initiate China`s transformation" toward democracy and urged
the Nobel Committee to send a strong message to Beijing.
"By doing this, the Nobel Committee will send a signal
to Liu Xiaobo and the Chinese government. Many people in China
and in the world are on his side and standing beside his
ideals of striving for freedom and human rights for 1.3
billion Chinese people," said the letter, signed by more than
120 intellectuals in China.
Last year, a group of Nobel laureates wrote in support
of Liu`s nomination. Liu has reportedly been on the shortlist
of finalists in previous years. The Nobel Peace Prize will be
announced in October.
This past week, Czech democracy leader Vaclav Havel
added his voice to the growing support for Liu, writing a
public endorsement published in the International Herald
Liu modeled the political document he wrote in 2008
after Havel`s Charter 77, a political declaration that helped
pave the way for the 1989 Velvet Revolution that swept the
Communist regime out of the former Czechoslovakia.
Some 10,000 people have signed Charter 08 online in the
past year, though a news blackout and Internet censorship have
left most Chinese unaware that it exists.
Liu previously spent 20 months in jail for joining the
1989 student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, which ended
when the government called in the military - killing hundreds,