Recipient of China's Confucius Peace Prize Unaware of Award


On the gates of Liu Xia's house, there were signs that said "this community declines interviews," and Ward was followed by a black car on the street.

Outside the home of Yu Jie, an activist and good friend of Liu Xiaobo's, a plainclothes policeman swatted away the crew's video camera and threatened to "smash" it if the crew kept shooting.

Ward interviewed Yu in August when the 37-year-old author published a book that criticized Chinese premier Wen Jiabao. He said, "despite the tremendous risks," he will "continue to work towards establishing freedom of speech here in China." He has not been seen or heard from in three weeks.

Though his friend Liu received such a harsh sentence, Yu said activists must keep fighting because if "we stop ... because we have been intimidated by the example the Communist Party has made out of Liu, then their purpose has been achieved. We must continue to do what he has done. We must work towards conquering our fears."

Despite pressure from Beijing that other countries boycott the Oslo ceremony, the State Department confirmed Wednesday the U.S. ambassador to Oslo, Barry White, will attend. So far, 19 countries have agreed to boycott the ceremony.

"All we can say is that we will be there on Friday to observe this recognition, and we know that we will not be alone, State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley said. "We obviously strongly support the statement that was made by the Nobel Committee in selecting Liu Xiaobo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize."

Norwegian Nobel Committee spokesman Geir Lundenstad said, "I've never ever experienced that one country approaches all the other embassies here and strongly encourages them to stay away from the ceremony."

Worden said China's campaign to block news of the Nobel Prize and to pressure other countries to not support the award is "a great irony, because the Chinese government wanted a Nobel Prize for many decades, they sought the prize"

She said the context of this year's Nobel Prize is very important, and "this is not an award that came as human rights are improving in China. This is an award that actually came at ... a very low period for human rights and the rule of law in China."

In an interview with ABC News shortly before his arrest in 2008, Liu said he did not think activists are freer than during the time of the Tiananmen Square protests.

"It's either they put me in jail, or they keep me at home, but put me under surveillance," he said. "I know it's difficult, but I consider it a moral duty because I was involved in the 1989 movement, and a lot of people sacrificed their lives, so that's why I've chosen this path." ABC's Clarissa Ward, Beth Loyd and David Muir contributed to this report.

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