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Political prisoner,  Liu Xiaobo,  is serving an 11-year prison sentence for ‘inciting the subversion of state power,’ and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today for his work toward nonviolent political change in China.

The sad thing is, in China, broadcasts of CNN, which is available in tourist hotels, upmarket foreign hotels and places where foreigners gather, went black during the Nobel announcement and when reports about the award later aired.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately comment, but a spokeswoman said recently that choosing Liu would go against the prize’s aims. How sweet is it to be in jail and win the Nobel Peace Prize? Especially since your country won’t even recognize you as winning the award.

Political prisoners is a term used in ways that represent someone who was fighting for a just cause and got a raw deal because the courts and the government felt he was being a radical. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King all faced imprisonment because they strongly felt that the way things were needed to change. So in honor of Liu Xiaobo winning the Noble Peace Prize in his efforts to achieve nonviolent political change, we take a look at other political prisoners who wanted to change things for the better. 

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Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and sentenced to an Birmingham where he was confined after being arrested for his part in the Birmingham campaign, a planned non-violent protest conducted by the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference against racial segregation by Birmingham’s city government.

Not letting the establishment get the better of him King penned ‘The Letter from Birmingham Jail’ where he expressed his views on the social injustices that existed at the time.

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Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned numerous times, in both South Africa and India, for his non-violent political activities.

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Nelson Mandela was arrested for treason in 1956 and acquitted. He left the country and returned, only to be rearrested and imprisoned for a long term (1962–1990) for paramilitary offences & political activism, after which he negotiated the end of Apartheid and went on to become President of South Africa.

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Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who chaired the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a centre-left political party in Pakistan. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having twice been Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988–1990; 1993–1996). She was Pakistan’s first and to date only female prime minister.

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Antonio Gramsci was an Italian philosopher, writer, politician and political theorist. A founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy, he was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime. His writings mostly deal wi