Top 10 Political Prisoners

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace on Oct. 8, 2010 — but the outspoken writer and campaigner for Chinese political reform is still under arrest. Lets take a look at other prominent dissidents, some of them Nobel laureates, who were jailed for their beliefs.

#10 Ho Chi Minh

When Ho Chi Minh visited China in the 1940s, he was trying to gain support from Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist government for his struggle against French colonialists. But Ho was a communist and distrusted by the Chinese generalissimo, who had Ho imprisoned for 18 months. In that time, Ho wrote the now famous Notebook from Prison, a collection of melancholic and stoic poems written in Chinese that call for revolution. Ho would go on to liberate Vietnam from the French in 1954, paving the way for the foundation of a socialist state in the country’s north.

#9 Benigno Aquino Jr.

Benigno Aquino Jr. (or Ninoy, as he was known) was destined to enter politics. He was a scion of a prominent Filipino political clan and was elected his country’s youngest-ever Senator at the age of 34 — a feat that would have him crowned the “Wonder Boy of Philippine Politics.” On Sept. 21, 1972, when Ninoy’s former fraternity brother Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, Ninoy and other opposition leaders were jailed. After seven years of confinement, he suffered a heart attack and was allowed by Marcos to go to the U.S. for surgery. That was followed by three years of self-imposed exile, after which he returned to the Philippines, reportedly saying on the plane back, “My feeling is, we all have to die sometime, and if it’s my fate to die by an assassin’s bullet, so be it.” As he stepped off the plane, he was gunned down, dying in a bloody pool on the Manila tarmac. News of his death sparked mass protests that eventually led to the end of Marcos’ 20-year regime and the restoration of democracy to the Philippines with the election of Ninoy’s wife Corazon.

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