Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Liu Xiaobo

Highs: The imprisoned Chinese academic and writer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 8 for his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental rights in China." Liu was the architect of Charter 08, a manifesto that encouraged China's authoritarian communist leadership to open up to reform and multi-party politics.

Lows: The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo on Dec. 10 was the first to have no representative receive it since 1936, when the committee had awarded the prize to anti-war dissident Carl von Ossietzky. Ossietzky languished in a Nazi concentration camp; Liu is in the second year of an 11-year sentence, handed down for his supposedly "subversive" role in drafting Charter 08. His wife, Liu Xia, remains under house arrest in Beijing and the ceremonies served as a pretext for the Chinese government to crackdown on a host of other activists and dissidents.

Ishaan Tharoor