China Finally Gets A Nobel Prize

Probably not quite in the way they wanted though. Oh well, they’ll just have to live with it. The BBC did a good round up of international reactions today:

Chinese Foreign Ministry

The Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to people who “promote national harmony and international friendship, who promote disarmament and peace”. Those are Mr Nobel’s wishes.

Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who violated Chinese law.

It’s a complete violation of the principles of the prize and an insult to the Peace Prize itself for the Nobel committee to award the prize to such a person.

In recent years, Chinese-Norwegian relations have maintained sound development, which is conducive to the two countries and two peoples’ interests.

The Nobel Committee awarding Liu this prize, which runs contrary to the principle of the Peace Prize, will bring damage to two-way relations.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

I would like to congratulate Liu Xiaobo, who has been awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to promote democracy and human rights.

The Nobel Committee’s decision directs a spotlight on the human rights situation in China, and underscores the links between development, democracy and universal human rights. Liu Xiaobo has been awarded the prize for defending freedom of expression and democracy in a way that deserves attention and respect.

China has made huge economic and social progress over the last decades. The standard of living has improved in step with these developments, and the Chinese people have gained greater individual freedom. However, there are still challenges that need to be addressed with regard to several universal human rights.

Norway enjoys close and extensive cooperation with China. Our ties are longstanding and cover all the areas that link our countries together. Discussions of human rights issues are part of these relations.

US President Barack Obama

Last year, I noted that so many others who have received the award had sacrificed so much more than I. That list now includes Mr Liu, who has sacrificed his freedom for his beliefs.

By granting the prize to Mr Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

As I said last year in Oslo, even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal to all human beings.

Over the last 30 years, China has made dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. But this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected.

We call on the Chinese government to release Mr Liu as soon as possible.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s office

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo of China is a recognition of the growing international consensus for improving human rights practices and culture around the world.

The secretary-general has consistently emphasised the importance of human rights, along with development and peace and security, as the three main pillars of the work of the United Nations.

Over the past years, China has achieved remarkable economic advances, lifted millions out of poverty, broadened political participation and steadily joined the international mainstream in its adherence to recognised human rights instruments and practices.

The secretary-general expresses his sincere hope that any differences on this decision will not detract from advancement of the human rights agenda globally or the high prestige and inspirational power of the award.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou

This is not only a personal honour for Liu but it has major historic significance for China’s human rights development and the global Chinese society.

China’s economic developments have impressed the world and it would win the recognition of Taiwanese people and the international community if it can make progress and a breakthrough in human rights issues.

UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay

I welcome the award because it recognises not only the prominence of Liu Xiaobo, whose release I have often called for, but it recognises the very important role of human rights defenders not only in China but in many parts of the world, where for bringing up human rights issues, calling for reform, they are being punished in various ways.

German government spokesman

The [German] government would like to see him released soon and receive his prize in person. The government has pressed for his release in the past and will continue to do so.

He is a brave man, a man who wants to advance democracy and human rights in his country, but one who knows and has always said that this would be a difficult and drawn-out process that should stay peaceful whatever happens.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner

This decision embodies the defence of human rights everywhere in the world. France, like the European Union, expressed its concern after his arrest and has called for him to be released on a number of occasions. It reiterates that appeal.

British Foreign Office

The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr Liu Xiaobo shines a spotlight on the situation of human rights defenders worldwide.

British Ministers, including Foreign Secretary William Hague, have raised his case in China since his imprisonment in 2009. We continue to call for his release and to champion freedom of expression in all countries.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso

The decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is a strong message of support to all those around the world who, sometimes with great personal sacrifice, are struggling for freedom and human rights. These values are at the core of the European Union.

Amnesty International

Liu Xiaobo is a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. We hope it will keep the spotlight on the struggle for fundamental freedoms and concrete protection of human rights that Liu Xiaobo and many other activists in China are dedicated to.

This award can only make a real difference if it prompts more international pressure on China to release Liu, along with the numerous other prisoners of conscience languishing in Chinese jails for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

The Dalai Lama

I would like to offer my heart-felt congratulations to Mr Liu Xiaobo for being awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Awarding the Peace Prize to him is the international community’s recognition of the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms.

Liu Xiaobo gets the Nobel Peace Prize, next week here in London Ai Weiwei reveals his Tate Modern installation. It’s the literary critic and the artist who are gaining world recognition, I like that!