A Norwegian television station predicted on Thursday night that the Nobel Peace Prize would most likely go to a Chinese dissident.
Norwegian commercial television Channel 2, which correctly predicted the long-shot award to US President Barack Obama last year, put jailed democracy activist Liu Xiaobo at the top of its list of likely winners of the Peace Prize to be announced on Friday.
“The most likely (choice) will probably be an imprisoned dissident in China,” the network said in a news report.
Liu is in prison for helping to organise and disseminate a document called Charter 08, which called for sweeping political reforms including freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion.
One of the original 300 signatories of the document, Liu was arrested on December 8 2008, just two days before the document was to be released.
He was convicted of activities “aimed at subversion of the government and overthrowing of the socialist system,” according to Human Rights Watch.
The same network also short-listed Afghan doctor and women’s rights activist Sima Samar, champion of China’s Uighur minority Rebiya Kadeer, and Burma’s broadcaster-in-exile the Democratic Voice of Burma.
The station also said that the prize could go to the European Union, as an organisation that has furthered the cause of unity and peace.
Many Nobel-watchers are predicting that this will be the year that the Nobel Committee tempts the wrath of China by recognising someone in the pro-democracy movement.
The Chinese government has often warned the committee that granting the Peace Prize to dissidents would strain relations between China and Norway, and this rebuke was issued most recently in September pertaining specifically to Liu.