Nobel Prizes: Liu Xiaobo and Mario Vargas Llosa

Liu Xiaobo, Chinese dissident, jailed by Communist dictatorship:

Imprisoned Chinese democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo on Friday won the Nobel Peace Prize — an award that drew furious condemnation from the authoritarian government and calls from world leaders including President Barack Obama for Liu’s quick release.

Chinese state media blacked out the news and Chinese government censors blocked Nobel Prize reports, which highlighted Liu’s calls for peaceful political change, from Internet websites. China declared the decision would harm its relations with Norway and promptly summoned Oslo’s ambassador to Beijing to make a formal protest.

…The Nobel committee praised Liu’s pacifist approach, ignoring threats by Chinese diplomats even before the announcement that such a decision would result in strained ties with Norway. Liu has been an ardent advocate of peaceful, gradual political change.

The Nobel committee cited Liu’s participation in the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in 1989 and the Charter 08 document he recently co-authored, which called for greater freedom in China and an end to the Communist Party’s political dominance.

And Mario Vargas Llosa, Literature:

Two related themes, however, thread their way through all the novels of Mr. Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel literature prize Thursday. These themes are a fascination with the human craving for freedom (be it political, social or creative) and the liberation conferred by art and imagination. Indeed, storytelling itself remains a central concern in the author’s work, in both his taste for willfully complicated narratives and his philosophical preoccupation with the ways in which subjectivity acts as a distorting prism for our apprehension of the world.

These two men really deserve the Prize.

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