Jailed Chinese dissident awarded Nobel prize

OSLO, Norway But ambassadors, royalty and dignitaries in Oslo, Norway, still gave this year's winner, imprisoned Chinese dissident /*Liu Xiaobo*/, a standing ovation.

His medal and diploma were placed on an empty chair to mark his absence.

Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence at Jinzhou Prison in northeastern China for urging sweeping changes to Beijing's one-party communist political system.

Xiaobo's suporters, including his wife, were even placed under house arrest in China to prevent them from picking up the presitigious, $1.4 million award.

"Somehow the award becomes larger in his absence," said actor and activist Richard Gere. "That empty chair is far more eloquent than his physical presence. I think it speaks to the reality of the situation in China right now."

Gere was among the activists standing at the /*United Nations*/ in support of Xiaobo.

China calls the award an attack on its political and legal system.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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