Nobel Panel Hopes Winner's Wife Can Collect Award

OSLO, Norway -- The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes Chinese authorities will allow the wife of imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo to travel to Oslo and accept the award on his behalf, the panel's spokesman said Tuesday.

Liu Xia has been under house arrest since the award to her human rights activist husband was announced last month.

"This situation has not been resolved as of today, but we have not given up entirely on the possibility of his wife coming," committee secretary Geir Lundestad told The Associated Press.

If she cannot attend the Dec. 10 award ceremony, only a representative who has been authorized by the couple can collect the $1.5 million award, Lundestad said.

If no such representative is found, Lundestad said the event would take place anyway, "but it may be that at the ceremony there will no handing over of the diploma and the medal as there normally is."

Instead, the committee would read a text written by the prize winner, he said.

Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion after co-authoring a bold appeal known as Charter 08 calling for reforms to the country's single-party Communist political system.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored him for more than two decades of advocacy of human rights and peaceful democratic change that started with the demonstrations at Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

China has accused the West of using the Nobel Prize to undermine China and called Liu a criminal.