News24

Nobel prize placed on Liu's empty chair

2010-12-10 15:07

Oslo - The head of the Nobel Committee on Friday placed the Peace Prize diploma and gold medal on an empty chair representing absent laureate Liu Xiaobo, who languishes in a Chinese prison.

"We regret that the laureate is not present here today," Thorbjoern Jagland said, standing on a flower-covered podium in the Oslo city hall under a large smiling portrait of the absent laureate.

Jagland placed the prestigious award on the empty chair, explaining it was impossible to hand it to Liu or any of his close family members, who were prevented from travelling to Oslo for the ceremony.

Liu, aged 54, is an author and former professor who was at the forefront of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

He was jailed in December 2009 for 11 years on subversion charges after co-authoring "Charter 08", a manifesto that spread quickly on the Internet calling for political reform and greater rights in China.

Meanwhile, global news networks CNN and BBC went black in China on Friday as their broadcasts began of the Nobel committee's ceremony.

The broadcasts of the global news giants as well as the French-language satellite channel TV5 have been blacked out in parts of China throughout Friday and again were cut as the ceremony in Oslo began.

China has also been blocking the news websites of the three broadcasters as well as many other overseas news sites reporting on Liu's award.