Liu Xiaobo, this year's winner of the Nobel Peace prize, is often called the "conscience" of China.
Currently serving an 11-year jail term for subversion, Liu had been a strong advocate for human rights, freedom of expression, and democracy in China.
He had joined student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989, and spent time in prison following the crackdown ordered by the authorites. But that did not deter him from fighting for the causes that he believed in.
Liu was setenced last year to 11 years in jail for helping to organise and disseminate a document called Charter 08, which calls for sweeping political reforms in China.
The document argued that "without freedom, China will always remain far from civilised ideals". It also called for a new constitution and for direct elections.
Originally signed by 300 intellectuals, Charter 08 quickly accumulated 10-thousand signatures, and supporters from all walks of life.
Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan reports on Liu's life and his struggles.