Chinese Dissidents Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

October 8, 2009 Updated: October 9, 2009

STOCKHOLM, Sweden—Several prominent Chinese dissidents are among the Nobel Peace Prize nominees this year, but they are not likely to be awarded, according to commentators.

Chinese dissidents nominated include Wei Jingsheng, who spent 17 years in a Chinese labour camp for encouraging reforms of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and democracy, environmental, and AIDS activist Hu Jia, who was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail last year for "subversive activities."

Gao Zhisheng, a prominent human rights lawyer who was kidnapped and tortured after attempting to defend Falun Gong practitioners, was also among the nominees. Hu Jia and Gao Zhisheng were also nominated for the award last year. CCP officials expressed anger about these nominations last year.

“I am aware that there was intense diplomatic pressure from Beijing after widespread reports—welcomed worldwide—that Chinese dissidents were being nominated," said Mr. McMillan-Scott, vice president of the European Parliament last year.

The International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), an organization which gives running commentary on the Nobel Institute, suspects that the Nobel committee will not risk challenging China this year by awarding the dissidents. “I do not see a Chinese dissident as a particularly likely recipient in 2009,” Director of PRIO Kristian Berg Harpviken wrote.

“A 2008 prize, following the Olympics, would have had a stronger signal effect. … I would be surprised if the committee … will want to confront China, who has made it clear that it would launch a vocal protest,” he wrote. “I do think it is likely that the current Nobel committee will take daring decisions.”

Among the others nominated are U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and American singer Peter Seeger.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner is to be announced by the Nobel Committee on Friday. A total of 205 nominees are in the run for the prestigious prize, among them 172 individuals and 33 organizations.

The Nobel Peace Prize started in 1901. Last year the prize went to the Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari for mediating international conflicts.

This year’s prize ceremony will take place Dec. 10 in the City Hall of Oslo, Norway.