Will Nobel Peace Prize free Liu Xiaobo?
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Will Nobel Peace Prize free Liu Xiaobo?

It has been hailed as an inspirational choice. Leaders from across the globe are commending the Nobel Peace Prize committee for honouring a 'selfless nonconformist political prisoner' and electing Liu Xiaobo as this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner. But will the world's most honourable award actually bring Liu Xiaobo closer to freedom and in doing so, be evolutionary in the democracy movement?

During serving his forth prison sentence, Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." Naturally the prize has been welcomed by human rights activists around the world, who see the award as some kind of victory. But will winning such a prestigious award help Liu Xiaobo walk from prison a free man?

Liu's wife seemed confident the prize will result in her husband's release. Amnesty International is equally as excited about this year's winner and regards it as a victory for human rights. Catherine Baber, the Amnesty International deputy director for the Asia Pacific region said:

"Liu Xiaobo is a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. We hope it will keep the spotlight on the struggle for fundamental freedoms and concrete protection of human rights that Liu and many other activists in China are dedicated to."

Awarding the Chinese dissident the prize has certainly succeeded in putting human rights and those advocating peaceful but nonconformist political activities in the spotlight. If we had not heard of the Chinese writer prior to the media whirlwind caused by him winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, we have certainly heard of Liu Xiaobo now.

Despite this seemingly widespread admiration towards Liu, which for many renders him wholly deserving of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, there is nothing particularly new about the award being used as a tool in promoting awareness to oppressive regimes. On the contrary to conforming to the desires of human rights activists and being agreeable to the international community, states feeling pressured in the wake of an infamous political dissident receiving such an honorary award, have become even more determined not to 'give in' – the cases of Dalai Lama in Tibet in 1989 and Shirin Ebadi of Iran in 2003, spring to mind.

Given this pessimistic hindsight into the modest amount of success the Nobel Peace Prize brings to liberating dissidents and to the democracy movement as a whole, it was of little surprise when the next media-hyped episode of the saga informed its audience that Mr Liu's wife, Liu Xia was placed under house arrest as she visited her husband in prison to break the good news.

Gabrielle Pickard

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Regular international media reports on Chinese investments and exploitation of natural resources from the African countries speak about consistent violation of human rights of the local workers at the various mines and work sites of the Chinese companies.  
    Most of these African countries are poor and so beholden to Chinese investment that they just remain silent or look other way when reports of regular mis-treatment of their citizens at the hands of Chinese bosses.  The local governments have become captives of the modern day Chinese business-rulers and cannot  say or do anything in case of any violation of labour laws and other forms of human right violation.
    One wonders if these Chinese behaviours, seen country after country wherever they operate, could be something to do with the anti-democratic and anti-human-value induced teachings of the Confucius, one of which is quoted below:
    There is government, when the prince is prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is son. (Confucius, Analects XII, 11).

  2. Avatar

    China has long become a great economic super-power. Seen by the benchmark of China being the biggest creditor to the USA, probably it can just \"buy\" it whenever it suits and make USA to go under Chapter XI (financially speaking).  

    With such money power, can we expect China to behave any time soon as a responsible nation respecting human values. No chance. This is the only big power preaching that there is no absoluteness about human rights and these can only be tailored to suit your body politik. We just don\'t know how many Liu Xiaobos would be needed to free the society.

    Nonetheless, Norwegein Nobel Committee deserve our sincere appreciation and applaud for they will not be browbeaten and cowed down by the enemies of human freedom/rights.     

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