While Chinese officials this week joined the chorus of global praise for the late Nelson Mandela, the autocratic regime in Beijing drew the line at comparing the anti-Apartheid icon with imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.
An editorial in the state-run Global Times on Wednesday rebuffed attempts to compare the fellow laureates and claimed that Liu was never accepted by “mainstream Chinese society,” according a translation published by Reuters.
“Mandela was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for leading African people to anti-apartheid victory through struggles, tolerance and efforts to bridge differences. However, awarding a Chinese prisoner who confronted authorities and was rejected by mainstream Chinese society derides China’s judiciary system,” read the article.
In 2008, Liu co-authored Charta 08, which called for the gradual implementation of democratic reforms in China and earned him international acclaim from human rights activist around the world.
Liu was later arrested by Chinese authorities and sentenced to 11 years in prison for undermining the state. In 2010, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and remains the only winner to still be behind bars.