In Oslo today, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to writer Liu Xiaobo,
who was unable to attend the ceremonies due to his ongoing imprisonment by the Chinese government. An empty chair sat on stage, pointedly, representing his absence. Below is an excerpt from a much-circulated letter
that Kwame Anthony Appiah
— acting as President of PEN American Center — sent to the Nobel committee, nominating Liu. It’s quite eloquent, well worth a read. Appiah was recently listed as among the Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy
, for “forging a code of ethics to fit a globalized world.”:
Liu’s writings express the aspirations of a growing number of China’s citizens; the ideas he has articulated in his allegedly subversive writings, ideas that are commonplace in free societies around the world, are shared by a significant cross section of Chinese society. Charter 08, for example, is a testament to an expanding movement for peaceful political reform in China. This document, which Liu co-authored, is a remarkable attempt both to engage China’s leadership and to speak to the Chinese public about where China is and needs to go.