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No word from China's imprisoned Nobel winner

 Mr. Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, announces the the Nobel Peace Prize at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Friday Oct. 8,...
 This undated image provided by Voice of America shows Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Friday Oct. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/...
 A Chinese police officer asks journalists move away from a road entering the apartment house where Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo stays in Beijing Frida...
 Mr. Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, holds a photograph of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo who is the recipient of ...
 Afghan human rights advocate Sima Samar, who was one of the candidates for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, smiles after she watched the announcement of t...
 Pro-democracy protesters hold the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with Chinese words "Release Liu Xiaobo" during a demonstration outside the ...
 In this Sept. 28, 2010 file photo, Liu Xia, wife of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, speaks about a December night nearly two years ago when her husband...
 In this photo taken on Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, Liu Xia, wife Chinease dissident Liu Xiaobo, speaks about possibility of her husband's winning the 2010 ...
 Mo Zhixu, a friend of Liu Xiaobo, speaks on behalf Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo outside her apartment house in Beijing Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Imprisone...
 Pro-democracy protesters hold the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with Chinese words "Release Liu Xiaobo" during a demonstration outside the ...
  In this photo taken in November, 2007 and released by Liu Xiaobo's friend Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, Liu poses during a gathering in Beijing. Imprisoned ...
 Supporters of Liu Xiaobo hold cards that read " We celebrate Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Prize" outside a park in Beijing, China Friday, Oct. 8, 201...
 A police officer, right, talks to supporters of Liu Xiaobo as they hold cards that read "We celebrate Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize" outsi...
 A Chinese police officer seals off a road entering the apartment house where Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo stays in Beijing Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Impri...
 Supporters of Liu Xiaobo holding his picture gather outside a park in Beijing Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu won the 2010 Nob...
 Afghan human rights advocate Sima Samar, seated at left, watches the announcement of this year's Nobel Peace prize, Friday, Oct. 8, 2010 in Kabul, Af...
 A pro-democracy protester holds the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with Chinese words '"Imprison the Nobel Peace Prize winner is Chinese sha...
 Pro-democracy protesters hold the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with Chinese words 'Release Liu Xiaobo' during a demonstration outside the ...

Nobel Peace Prize 2010

Mr. Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, announces the the Nobel Peace Prize at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Friday Oct. 8,...

Nobel Peace Prize

This undated image provided by Voice of America shows Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Friday Oct. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/...

China Nobel Peace Prize

A Chinese police officer asks journalists move away from a road entering the apartment house where Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo stays in Beijing Frida...

Nobel Peace Prize 2010

Mr. Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, holds a photograph of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo who is the recipient of ...

Afghanistan Nobel Peace Prize

Afghan human rights advocate Sima Samar, who was one of the candidates for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, smiles after she watched the announcement of t...

Hong Kong Nobel Peace Prize

Pro-democracy protesters hold the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with Chinese words "Release Liu Xiaobo" during a demonstration outside the ...

China Nobel Peace Prize

In this Sept. 28, 2010 file photo, Liu Xia, wife of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, speaks about a December night nearly two years ago when her husband...

China Nobel Peace Prize

In this photo taken on Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, Liu Xia, wife Chinease dissident Liu Xiaobo, speaks about possibility of her husband's winning the 2010 ...

China Nobel Peace Prize

Mo Zhixu, a friend of Liu Xiaobo, speaks on behalf Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo outside her apartment house in Beijing Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Imprisone...

Hong Kong Nobel Peace Prize

Pro-democracy protesters hold the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with Chinese words "Release Liu Xiaobo" during a demonstration outside the ...

China Nobel Peace Prize

In this photo taken in November, 2007 and released by Liu Xiaobo's friend Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, Liu poses during a gathering in Beijing. Imprisoned ...

China Nobel Peace Prize

Supporters of Liu Xiaobo hold cards that read " We celebrate Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Prize" outside a park in Beijing, China Friday, Oct. 8, 201...

China Nobel Peace Prize

A police officer, right, talks to supporters of Liu Xiaobo as they hold cards that read "We celebrate Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize" outsi...

China Nobel Peace Prize

A Chinese police officer seals off a road entering the apartment house where Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo stays in Beijing Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Impri...

China Nobel Peace Prize

Supporters of Liu Xiaobo holding his picture gather outside a park in Beijing Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu won the 2010 Nob...

Afghanistan Nobel Peace Prize

Afghan human rights advocate Sima Samar, seated at left, watches the announcement of this year's Nobel Peace prize, Friday, Oct. 8, 2010 in Kabul, Af...

Nobel Peace Prize

A pro-democracy protester holds the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with Chinese words '"Imprison the Nobel Peace Prize winner is Chinese sha...

Nobel Peace Prize

Pro-democracy protesters hold the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with Chinese words 'Release Liu Xiaobo' during a demonstration outside the ...

The world's newest Nobel Peace Prize winner remained unreachable in a Chinese prison Saturday, while his wife's mobile phone was cut off and the authoritarian government continued to censor reports about democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo's honor.
Police kept reporters away from the prison where Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion, and his lawyer said that Liu's wife _ who had been hoping to visit him Saturday and tell him the news of the award_ has "disappeared" and he is worried she may be in police custody.
Chinese authorities, who called Liu a criminal shortly after his award Friday and said his winning "desecrates the prize," sank Saturday into official silence.
Only an editorial in the state-run Global Times newspaper spoke out Saturday, saying in English, "Obviously, the Nobel Peace Prize this year is meant to irritate China, but it will not succeed. On the contrary, the committee disgraced itself."
The paper's Chinese-language edition called the award "an arrogant showcase of Western ideology" and said it disrespected the Chinese people.
But one Chinese newspaper cartoonist, Kuang Biao, posted an image on his blog Friday of a Nobel prize medal behind bars.
In naming Liu, the Norwegian-based Nobel committee honored his more than two decades of advocacy for human rights and peaceful democratic change _ from the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989 to a manifesto for political reform that he co-authored in 2008 and which led to his latest jail term.
President Barack Obama, last year's peace prize winner, called for Liu's immediate release.
But there was still no word from the winner himself. The mobile phone of his wife, Liu Xia, was turned off Saturday as she was expected to be en route with police to the prison to meet her husband.
"She's disappeared. We're all worried about them," Liu's lawyer, Shang Baojun, told The Associated Press on Saturday.
He said even Liu Xia's mother had been unable to reach her.
Liu's wife's freedom of movement had been shrinking since the eve of the Nobel announcement when, she said, police came to her apartment to try to get her out of Beijing, offering her a prison visit with Liu. She wanted to stay for the announcement and planned to hold an impromptu news conference with reporters. But police would not let her leave the apartment and on Friday night, she said she was negotiating terms to visit Liu on Saturday and tell him the news.
Police often force political critics, religious dissenters and sometimes their family members to leave Beijing ahead of sensitive anniversaries, often putting them up in guesthouses and keeping them out of the way for days and weeks.
Beth Schwanke with the Washington-based Freedom Now, an organization that serves as Liu's international counsel, said, "We're very concerned that the government might use this as a pretext for detaining her."
Liu's wife has said she hopes to go to Norway to collect the Nobel medal and its prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (about $1.5 million), if he cannot.
Two years into an 11-year jail term at the prison 300 miles (500 kilometers) from Beijing, the slight, 54-year-old literary critic was not expected to find out about the award until the meeting with his wife.
Shang said it was not likely that winning the prize would have any big effect on Liu's prison sentence. "Unless (President) Hu Jintao signs some sort of special order ... but there's no precedent for that," the lawyer said. In past years, China would release certain dissidents after international pressure, but not because they won major awards.
Liu is the first peace prize winner chosen while serving a criminal prison sentence, although several laureates, including Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (1991) and German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky (1935) were in custody without a legal trial. Still others, like Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov (1975) and Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa (1983), were prevented by their governments from going to Norway to accept the prize.
The government arrested Liu in December 2008, hours before he released a document named Charter 08 that called for greater freedoms and for the Communist Party to give way to gradual, democratic change.
In announcing the peace prize Friday, the Nobel committee issued a challenge to China to live up to its responsibilities as the world's second-largest economy and a burgeoning diplomatic and military power.
Liu had been virtually unknown among ordinary Chinese. University students in Beijing were wrestling Friday night with a mix of pride and suspicion over the award. Students on the online bulletin board of China's top university were asking angrily how someone in prison could win the peace prize, said Peking University student Yang Yuan.
"But then I thought about it _ wasn't Mandela in prison?" Yang said. "So I just don't know about this."
South Africa's Nelson Mandela was actually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize three years after his release from prison. He shared the prize with then-South African leader F.W. de Klerk for their efforts to bring racial reconciliation.


Updated : 2021-10-18 16:54 GMT+08:00