Chinese dissident Hu Jia has been nominated for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, but it is unlikely he will be able to receive the prize should he win.
Mr Hu, who became an activist advocating for rural aid sufferers, has become one of the most internationally recognised human rights advocates in China today. However, he has been in detention since earlier this year.
Suggestions that a Chinese dissident has been nominated, has also brought condemnation from Chinese authorities who say Beijing will not be happy should Mr Hu be selected.
Hu Jia, a democracy, environmental and AIDS activist was first detained in July 2006, when he was on the way to Europe with his pregnant wife Zeng Jinyan to promote a film they had both made about being activists in modern China.
The couple remained under house arrest until December last year, at which point Mr Hu was removed to a detention centre.
In April this year, he was officially charged and found guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” for criticising the Chinese Communist Party. He is now serving a three-and-a-half year sentence in Tianjin prison, not far from Beijing.
Reports from unnamed sources say he has been put into solitary confinement and his health is suffering.
Zeng Jinyan and baby remained under house arrest until the week before the Olympics at which point neighbours reported her disappearance. She has not been seen since.
Zeng was named one of Time Magazines 100 most influential people in 2006 for her blog detailing her life as an activist.
Nobel Peace Prize
Rumours that Mr Hu had been nominated for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, which is to be announced in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on October 10, surfaced last week when a number of selectors hinted that a Chinese dissident could be the winner.
Janne Haaland Matlary, professor of international politics at Oslo University, suggested that it could be time a Chinese dissident received an award for their advocacy of human rights, although she suggested that a Russian rights activist was also in the running.
Head of Oslo’s International Peace Research Institute Stein Toennesson, however, was more specific saying jailed democracy activist Hu Jia would be his first choice for nomination.
According to Reuters, Chinese authorities have reacted with customary posturing saying Beijing would not welcome a Chinese dissident winning the award.
“So we hope that related parties make the correct choice on this issue and do not do anything that hurts the feelings of the Chinese people,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao was reported as saying.
There has been only one award linked to China in the 107 year history of the Nobel Peace Prize. That was 19 years ago when the Dalai Lama was selected as the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.