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Nobel.jpgAn empty chair represents imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo at Friday’s ceremony in Oslo, Norway

The empty chair was itself his acceptance speech. Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia today in Oslo, Norway.

China has not sat by silently. They have leveled furious protest since the Nobel committee announced on October 8 that Liu would receive the prize. Chinese officials label Liu a common criminal and say the award is a Western plot against China. Their rhetoric heated up again today when they called the ceremony for Liu a “political farce.”

“The decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee does not represent the wish of the majority of the people in the world, particularly that of the developing countries,” said Jiang Yu, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official.

Liu, a professor of literature, serves an 11-year sentence in a Chinese prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” Neither he, nor was his wife, Liu Xia were permitted to travel to Norway to accept the prize.

In response Nobel chairman Thorbjorn Jagland today, likened Liu Xiaobo to Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who fought the apartheid regime. Jagland then placed Liu’s medal in the empty chair.

“God, we pray for China and for the many millions who wait and hope and pray for true liberty. We pray for the brave men and women who stand boldly for freedom of conscience and spiritual belief and expression. We pray for the many Christians suffering persecution and oppression and we pray for those Christian leaders who choose today to obey God over the unjust restrictions of a fearful regime. We pray that even under the grip of oppression many in China would find genuine spiritual freedom in Jesus.”  

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