BEIJING - China has long wanted a Nobel prize. Now that it has one, its leaders are furious.
The Nobel committee awarded its peace prize to imprisoned democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo on Friday, lending encouragement to China's dissident community and sending a rebuke to the authoritarian government, which sharply condemned the award.
In naming Liu, the Norwegian-based committee honored his more than two decades of advocacy for human rights and peaceful democratic change - from the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989 to a manifesto for political reform that he co-authored in 2008 and which led to his latest jail term.
A pro-democracy protester holds the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with Chinese words ''Imprison the Nobel Peace Prize winner is Chinese shame'.
President Barack Obama, last year's peace prize winner, called for Liu's immediate release.
Anticipating the award, Chinese circumvented Internet controls and called friends overseas to learn the news. Supporters and friends gathered outside Liu's central Beijing apartment, where his wife was kept inside by police.
At a park, a civil rights lawyer, a retired official-turned-blogger and a dozen other people cheered and waved placards saying "Long Live Freedom of Speech." The demonstrators were later taken away by police.
A buzz of congratulations coursed through Chinese instant messaging sites before censors scrubbed postings and blocked cell phone text messages that contained the characters for Liu's name.
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who won the prize in 1989, joined Obama and other leaders in congratulating Liu.