Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for using non-violence to demand fundamental human rights in his homeland. The award ignited a furious response from China, which accused the Norwegian Nobel Committee of violating its own principles by honoring "a criminal."
Chinese state media immediately blacked out the news and Chinese government censors blocked Nobel prize reports from Internet websites.
This year's peace prize followed a long tradition of honoring dissidents around the world, although it was the first Nobel for China's dissident community since it resurfaced after the country's communist leadership launched economic but not political reforms three decades ago.
Liu, 54, was sentenced last year to 11 years in prison for subversion. Unlike some in China's highly fractured and persecuted dissident community, he has been an ardent advocate for peaceful, gradual political change rather than confrontation with the government.
The Nobel committee praised Liu's pacifist approach, ignoring not-so-subtle threats by Chinese diplomats even before the announcement that such a decision would result in strained ties with Norway.