Taiwan calls on China to release Nobel winner
Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjoern Jagland looks down at the Nobel certificate and medal on the empty chair where this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo would have sat, as a portrait of Liu is seen in the background, during the ceremony at Oslo City Hall December 10, 2010. Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in an Oslo ceremony derided by Beijing as a farce, and dedicated it from his prison cell to the "lost souls" of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. REUTERS

Norway's Nobel committee held its Peace Prize awards ceremony on Friday without the award's recipient, human rights activist Liu Xiaobo.

Liu, who has been convicted of attempting to subvert China's state authority through online postings and incitement to gain support, is currently serving the first year of an 11-year sentence.

Because the Nobel committee honored Liu, China boycotted the ceremony. Eitghteen others nations that were invited also stayed away in a show of support for China.

Liu's words from a December 23, 2009 address to a Chinese court before his sentencing were read aloud by Norwegian actress Liv Ullman at the ceremony in Oslo.

Xiabo, a former professor, said in the statement he has been jailed for two years starting in 1989 after Democracy protests for the crime of counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement, and spent three years in a Reeducation-Through-Labor program in 1996. He said he had also been prevented from speaking out publicly in China and spoke only through the foreign press.

Despite a regime, which is depriving me of my freedom, he said he stood by statements made twenty years earlier. I have no enemies and no hatred.

He said he wanted to counter the regime's hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispel hatred with love, adding that he looked forward to a China where all political views spread out under the sun for people to choose from.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in state media Tuesday that, according to the latest court decision, Liu incited others to subvert state power and overthrow the socialist system through writing incendiary articles and releasing them on the Internet and organizing and inducing others to sign in support of his articles.

She said more than 100 countries and international organizations expressed support for China's stance on the Nobel prize, although she did not name particular organizations.

This shows that the majority of international community members do not accept the Nobel Committee's wrong decision, Jiang said. This wrong decision will incur firm opposition from the Chinese people, and it is unacceptable to the vast majority of countries that uphold justice.

The Nobel committee said this week that 44 embassies accepted invitations to the awards. It also said 18 countries had joined China in refusing invitations including: Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

China's vice foreign minister Cui Tianka said in November that each country was free to choose whether to recognize the award.

If they make the wrong choice, they have to bear the consequences, he said without elaborating, according to reports.

Advocacy group Humans Rights Watch had urged the Chinese government to release Liu to attend the ceremony in Oslo, and allow his wife to attend.

The organization says activists have long called for abolishing the crime of inciting subversion.

The award displays ignorance of China's true human rights progress, said Chang Jian, a human rights researcher at China's Nankai University, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

The agency said China's GDP has grown rapidly over the last 20 years, saying its opening-up policies over the last 30 years have helped.

Millions of people have been delivered from struggles with daily subsistence and now enjoy overall improved living standards, the agency said, citing rapid economic growth during that time.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who won the prize last year, said he acknowledged that progress but said other advancements were necessary.

We respect China's extraordinary accomplishment in lifting millions out of poverty, and believe that human rights include the dignity that comes with freedom from want, Obama said.

But Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law. The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible, Obama said.