Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Nobel Prize for Peace 

How is China going to handle this? Liu Xiaobo has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Liu Xiaobo is the primary author of the Charter 08 document, which advocates democracy, and particularly (I think this is the part that has caused him the most trouble) an end to one party rule.

It does appear that China's decision to make a criminal of Liu Xiaobo is coming home to roost. He was sentenced last year to eleven years in prison on Christmas Day last year for the crime of "inciting subversion of state power." Here are the main points of the Charter 08 document that got Liu Xiaobo in trouble:

Amending the Constitution.
Separation of powers.
Legislative democracy.
An independent judiciary.
Public control of public servants.
Guarantee of human rights.
Election of public officials.
Rural–urban equality.
Freedom of association.
Freedom of assembly.
Freedom of expression.
Freedom of religion.
Civic education.
Protection of private property.
Financial and tax reform.
Social security.
Protection of the environment.
A federated republic.
Truth in reconciliation.

China's problem is that most countries in the community of nations would see these values as laudable, not criminal. So China's contention that the award is being given to a criminal is not impressive. When Liu Xiaobo and others put out the Charter 08 document, the government had a challenge to face. Certainly it was a threat to their power, but I'm not sure how much of a threat. I think they made the wrong call this time. I don't know if I would call Liu Xiaobo a hero or not. When he was a guest scholar at Columbia back in 1989, he quit his job and rushed back into China to get involved in the demonstrations. So I guess I can understand why the government sees him as a bit of a trouble maker. But a criminal? I think that's going to be a problem for the government. Most people just don't see him that way. He is a scholar, and a very smart man, and he has brought up some ideas that most people feel need to be talked about. When they decided to make him a criminal, they pretty much bought the farm. This is going to be tough to back out of. I think China is going to lose the propaganda war on this one.

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