Nobel Prize fallout

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 October, 2010, 12:00am

The Nobel Peace Prize committee named jailed mainland activist Liu Xiaobo as this year's winner. Beijing was not pleased, cancelling meetings with top Norwegian ministers and even stopping a musical performance by Alexander Rybak. Liu's wife, Liu Xia , was placed under house arrest, which angered, well, everyone else. Even Japan weighed in, asking the government to release the man.

Liu's victory inspired a group of important Communist Party elders to call on the government for free speech. In an open letter posted online, the retired officials state that although China's 1982 constitution guarantees freedom of speech, the right is constrained by a host of laws and regulations that should be scrapped. Wang Yongcheng, a retired professor at Shanghai's Jiaotong University who signed the letter, said it had been inspired by the recent arrest of a journalist who wrote about corruption in the resettlement of farmers for a dam project.