An imprisoned Chinese human rights activist was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Friday, upsetting China's leaders who see his work as encouraging the dissident community to rise up against the government.
Liu Xiaobo is currently behind bars for his human rights activism and writings that call for a Chinese democracy. He has advocated in China for more than two decades, from the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989 to a manifesto for political reform that he co-authored in 2008, which led to his latest jail term.
"Last year, I noted that so many others who have received the award had sacrificed so much more than I," said President Barack Obama, who received the prestigious award last year. "That list now includes Mr. Liu, who has sacrificed his freedom for his beliefs."
Many feel the award will likely carry Liu's call for democracy to a wider audience, especially among young Chinese.
"They are going to want to know who Liu Xiaobo is and why he won this prize. They are going to learn who he is and this way they are going to learn more about freedom, democracy, justice and about the Tiananmen generation," said Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei.
"It also sends a message to China and the Chinese government, that while the international community recognizes the economic achievements of today's China, it still cannot forget that China is falling behind in terms of some basic values and human principles, such as human rights and freedom of speech," he added.
President Obama and other international leaders are calling for Liu's immediate release.