Beijing: Jailed political reformist Liu Xiaobo on Friday night became the first Chinese national to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, provoking condemnation from the authoritarian nation.
The writer and university professor, 54, was honoured ''for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China'', Norwegian Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland said in his announcement.
But China reacted angrily in a statement, with Foreign Affairs spokesman Ma Zhaoxu saying the committee had ''violated'' the prize's integrity, and warned ties with Oslo would suffer as a consequence.
''The Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to those who work to promote ethnic harmony, international friendship, disarmament and who hold peace meetings. These were [Alfred] Nobel's wishes,'' the statement said.
''Liu Xiaobo was found guilty of violating Chinese law and sentenced to prison by Chinese judicial organs. His actions run contrary to the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize. By awarding the prize to this person, the Nobel committee has violated and blasphemed the award.''
Liberal Chinese intellectuals were shocked when Liu was sentenced to 11 years' jail on Christmas Day last year for ''inciting subversion of state power'' in connection with his role in organising a manifesto for democracy and human rights called Charter 08.
Prominent Beijing film critic Cui Weiping, who signed Charter 08, wept as the Nobel announcement was made, reports the Age, Melbourne.
''I'm so glad, this is great, there is light,'' said Cui.
Chinese internet message services and micro-blogs were filled with congratulatory messages last night but the Chinese authorities moved quickly to censor the news with internet commentary rapidly being shut down and satellite services of CNN and the BBC temporarily blocked at The Age offices in Beijing.
There was speculation Liu's wife, Liu Xia, had been taken by police, perhaps to meet Liu at his prison in Liaoning province.
''He won't get the prize,'' she told The Age minutes before the award was announced.
''It's not convenient to accept an interview now. There are police at my home.''
After the award was announced, her phone remained unanswered.
Yang Hengjun, a former Chinese diplomat who has become a leading Chinese language political commentator and author, said Liu's Nobel peace prize marked a turning point in China's political development.
''This is a very big signal to the Chinese government - do political reform or you will have a lot of enemies around you and within you,'' said Dr Yang, a friend of Liu, who also signed Charter 08.