NEW YORK: Jailed Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo has won another prize, with Human Rights Watch honoring him for risking his life to "protect the dignity" of others.
The New York-based rights group named the 54-year-old writer as one of six recipients of its Alison Des Forges Award, named after a leading expert on Rwanda’s genocide who died last year in a plane crash.
Renee Xia of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a network of activists, accepted the award at a ceremony Wednesday evening in New York on behalf of the imprisoned Liu.
Liu, 54, was sentenced to 11 years in prison last December on subversion charges after co-authoring Charter 08, a petition calling for sweeping political reform that has been circulated online and signed by thousands.
Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the award "celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others."
"By honoring Liu Xiaobo, we also honor countless human rights defenders who have been unjustly imprisoned for their own courageous and dogged efforts to reform China from within. They, and Liu, should be released immediately," said Sophie Richardson, acting Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
China voiced outrage when Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month, saying the move by the Norwegian committee was tantamount to "encouraging crime."
Human Rights Watch is also presenting its award in a series of ceremonies to Egyptian activist Hossam Bahgat, Russian investigative journalist Elena Milashina and Ethiopian rights advocate Yoseph Mulugeta.
The other recipients are Steave Nemande, a doctor in Cameroon fighting for gay rights across Africa, and Iranian women’s rights activist Sussan Tahmasebi.