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Nobel Peace laureate and Chinese national Liu Xiaobo, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for “inciting subversion of state power,” was not present at the December 10 ceremony honoring his prize. Nor was his wife, who has been under house arrest since the Nobel announcement and is apparently now missing.
Instead, an empty chair sat on the Oslo stage between the Nobel Committee members, marking the first time a recipient was not physically present to accept the award. And as panel chief Thorbjoern Jagland placed the Nobel diploma on the chair, it was clear Liu’s presence was felt by the 1,000-person audience, who delivered a standing ovation.
The honoree’s final public statement, issued days before his imprisonment and read aloud at the Nobel ceremony by actress Liv Ullmann, included a message (translated here) for his beloved:
If I may be permitted to say so, the most fortunate experience of these past twenty years has been the selfless love I have received from my wife, Liu Xia. She could not be present as an observer in court today, but I still want to say to you, my dear, that I firmly believe your love for me will remain the same as it has always been. Throughout all these years that I have lived without freedom, our love was full of bitterness imposed by outside circumstances, but as I savor its aftertaste, it remains boundless. I am serving my sentence in a tangible prison, while you wait in the intangible prison of the heart. Your love is the sunlight that leaps over high walls and penetrates the iron bars of my prison window, stroking every inch of my skin, warming every cell of my body, allowing me to always keep peace, openness, and brightness in my heart, and filling every minute of my time in prison with meaning. My love for you, on the other hand, is so full of remorse and regret that it Continue reading AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Liu Xiaobo’s Empty Chair
Filed under: Activists, China, Great Loves, Human Rights, I Have No Enemies, Imprisonment, Liu Xia, Liu Xia Missing, Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xiaobo Empty Chair, Nobel Committee, Nobel Diploma, Nobel Laureates, Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo, Oslo, Political Reform, Standing Ovation, Tears, Thorbjoern Jagland
Occupation: Literature professor and jailed Chinese dissident
Known for: Returning to China from the U.S. during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and saving hundreds of lives by persuading students to leave the square as army tanks were rolling in; being imprisoned for most of the last 20 years for his peaceful protest of the Chinese government; helping to draft Charter 08, a manifesto calling for freedom of expression, free elections, and human rights in China.
First the good news: On Friday of last week, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Liu is the first Chinese citizen still living in mainland China to ever win a Nobel.
Now the bad: In advance of his winning, 14 overseas Chinese dissidents wrote a letter to the Nobel committee declaring Liu an “unsuitable” laureate for, among other reasons, being soft on the Chinese government. Then, when the award was announced, China censored any mention of Liu and the prize. And now Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, is apparently under house arrest.
A peace prize has been given, yes, but still, no peace.
Filed under: Censorship, Censorship in China, Charter 09, China, Chinese Censorship, Chinese Dissidents, Freedom of Expression, Give Peace a Chance, Human Rights, Liu Xia, Nobel Committee, Nobel Laureates, Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo, Norway, Peace, The Chinese Government, Tiananmen Square
A popular pro-democracy opposition leader, he was elected as President in 1997 and lead the way for a liberal, democratic, modern South Korea. One major highlight of his life’s work may have been his optimistic “Sunshine Policy” approach towards North Korea, which warmed relations with the brother country and ultimately garnered Kim the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000.
He remains a beloved figure in his home country and abroad, and his presence–always hopeful–will be missed.
CNN reported Wednesday that President-elect Obama will likely nominate Dr. Steven Chu for Secretary of Energy, despite concerns that the Nobel physicist has no political experience. Many of you sent us this story, and I imagine it’s not just because Chu is Asian-American. It’s also because the 60 year-old Cal professor reminds you of your Hardass Asian Dad–bespectacled, nerdy, great at math and science, and the most competent and capable person you know.
Congratulasians, Dr. Chu!
Occupation: Molecular Biologist
Known for: winning the 1987 Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine for the “discovery of the genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity” (Yipes–Though we can’t quite explain it, at least we can spell it).
After making great strides with his scientific research for over 40 years in the U.S., Tonegawa is returning to his homeland of Japan to incite non-Japanese researchers to come and lead new projects. “The level of science is high,” he says, “but it’s difficult to attract a certain caliber of researchers from overseas.”
The prodigal son returns to boost his father country! We love that kind of Reprzentasian.
In honor of Jen’s amazian Physics genius father, we’d like to wish Daniel C. Tsui, Chinese-born American physicist and Nobel Laureate, a very happy 69th birthday. We know that Jen’s dad is proud of him! And believe us, that’s the best present he’s gonna get all year…
Speaking of Prayer Hands, the Dalai Lama just completed an 11-day trip to Italy, during which His Holiness met with fellow Nobel peace laureates like Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa in Rome.
And thus, a new zzZen trend is born…the ill-fitting, foam visor! I expect these to be in every Hollywood goodie bag come “award season” and on the peace-lovin’ noggins of Richard “How Did a Hamster Get Up in” Gere and Sharon “Her Sliverness” Stone in no time.
“Chen-Ning Yang, 82, a Chinese American Nobel laureate of physics, and his wife Weng Fan, 28, attend a ceremony in honor of the Chinese who have worldwide influences at the Peking University in Beijing March 31, 2007. Yang was conferred the award of lifetime achievement.”
I hate to say it, Pops, but this is just gross.