Mr Liu is precisely the kind of dissident that the party regards as most threatening, writes the Economist:
He is a seasoned campaigner, a veteran of the Tiananmen protests who has shown no sign of succumbing to the party’s intimidation in spite of three periods of incarceration over the past two decades (more than five years in total). He is a mildly spoken literary critic who has created the sort of consensus that is unusual to forge among China’s infighting intellectuals. Mr Liu’s Charter 08, a document that calls for democracy, was signed initially by more than 300 liberal thinkers (and then by thousands of others online). It struck a reasoned tone to which radicals and moderates alike could subscribe. The debate over “universal values” that it helped to fuel still rages within the party today.
I believe that the prize went to the right candidate this year – but I doubt that Liu would be precisely the kind of dissident that the party regards as most threatening. Liu worked in a transparent, public way. He advocates a genuine public life. The CCP probably still fears Falun Gong a lot more.