Havel endorses Nobel Peace Prize for Chinese dissident
New York, Sept 21 (CTK)—Former Czech president Vaclav Havel has called on the Norwegian Nobel Committee to give this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, in his letter published in Monday’s issue of The New York Times daily.
Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison over the Charter 08 initiative for the improvement of human rights standards in China which was inspired by the Charter 77 Czechoslovak anti-communist humans rights manifesto.
Havel, 73, former leading dissident, was one of the first Charter 77 signatories and later also its spokesman.
A group of Czech legislators also nominated Liu Xiaobo for the Nobel Peace Prize in February.
“We ask the Nobel Committee to honour Liu Xiaobo’s more than two decades of unflinching and peaceful advocacy for reform, and to make him the first Chinese recipient of that prestigious award. In doing so, the Nobel Committee would signal both to Liu and to the Chinese government that many inside China and around the world stand in solidarity with him, and his unwavering vision of freedom and human rights for the 1. 3 billion people of China,” Havel writes in the letter, along with other Charter 77 signatories, Dana Nemcova and Bishop Vaclav Maly.
The authors of the letter recalled the history of Charter 77 in the former Czechoslovakia that inspired the Chinese initiative.
They said Charter 08 “has encouraged younger Chinese to become politically active” and has forged connections among different groups of the Chinese regime opponents.
Havel supported Liu Xiaobo’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize previously. The Chinese dissident was also nominated by the U.S. writers’ association International PEN.
China warned against awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, similarly like last year when it criticised another Chinese candidate Hu Jia, an activist fighting for AIDS patients’ rights.
Though he was a favourite among the candidates, the 2009 prize went to U.S. President Barack Obama eventually.