COVID-19 Special Coverage
China court official criticizes Nobel committee for awarding peace prize to Liu Xiaobo
China court official criticizes Nobel committee for awarding peace prize to Liu Xiaobo
Photo source or description

[JURIST] A spokesperson for China’s Municipal Higher People’s Court on Friday criticized [Xinhua report] those responsible for granting the Nobel Peace Prize to dissident Liu Xiaobo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Liu, who was awarded the 2010 Peace Prize [JURIST report], is currently serving an 11-year sentence for subversion of state power. The unnamed spokesperson reinforced China’s dedication to the rule of law and criticized the international community, saying:

China is a nation governed by law. Its judicial sovereignty brooks no interference and the dignity of the judiciary must be safeguarded. Anyone, who violates Chinese law, must be punished according to law. … China’s judicial organs will strictly follow Chinese law and the court verdict, which has come into effect, to execute the punishment given to Liu. … We strongly oppose some people making arbitrary criticism on China’s judicatory with double standards.

While Liu remains imprisoned in China, the Nobel committee is unsure who will accept the award [Reuters report] at the ceremony in December. His wife, activist Liu Xia, has been under house arrest [Guardian report] in Beijing since earlier this month after visiting her husband in prison to notify him of the award.

The Nobel committee announced that Liu won the 2010 award for being one of China’s most prominent non-violent activists. His alleged subversive acts include co-authoring Charter 8 [text], a document critical of China’s position as a single-party state and alleged human rights violations, and being a participant in the Tiananmen Square protests [BBC backgrounder]. Liu’s initial involvement in Tiananmen Square resulted in a two-year prison sentence, while his current 11-year sentence began following a December 2009 trial [JURIST report]. Liu appealed his sentence, and a Chinese appeals court upheld the judgment [JURIST report] in February. Sarah Cook, the Asia Research Analyst and Assistant Editor for Freedom House, called the sentence [JURIST comment], “symptomatic of more systemic problems and politicization of the Chinese legal system.”