For his tireless crusade against single-party rule, writer, activist, and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo won this year's Nobel Peace Prize, making it pretty tough for Chinese leaders to surreptitiously kill him now.
Liu, who is currently serving an 11-year sentence for subversion, has inspired millions fighting for human rights across the globe, and severely complicated any efforts on Beijing's part to quietly eliminate him and suppress his pro-democracy message by making it look as though he choked on some stale bread.
Chinese leaders, who consider Liu to be a threat to civil order, must be pretty peeved right about now that his high-profile status has all but ruled out the possibility of anyone believing he would suddenly commit suicide, and has ensured a fatal fall down the stairs would just look amateurish and ridiculous. Moreover, when Liu's wife was allowed to visit him following the prize announcement, the government's hands were essentially tied as far as physically harming her goes, which is a major pain for them. Given Liu's newfound celebrity, there is little Chinese officials can do but hope for a lightning strike on his cell, or an extremely localized meteor impact during the daily outdoor exercise period.