Friday, October 8, 2010

On the Nobel Peace Prize, anno 2010, part two

If you want to catch me making (almost correct) predictions you might want to go back a day and read yesterday's post, when I took the liberty to guess who this year's laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize would be (make sure to check out the comments field, as I was the proud receiver of some interesting feedback yesterday. Particularly interesting considering today's announcement...). If you already read yesterday's post, however, or maybe you just don't care what I guessed when you can get the real thing.... Read on.

This year's Nobel Peace Prize laureate is...


Liu Xiaobo (link to PEN America)

The guesses, including mine (though I thought we'd have another Chinese dissident than this one), were correct. The Nobel Peace Prize to a Human Rights advocate from China has been expected for years. The committee's decision underscored the importance of increased responsibility for political rights in a country like China where the economic development the last few years have allowed hundreds of millions to escape poverty. Now is the time to also improve living conditions in other aspects of the Chinese society. 

Liu is currently in prison in China for his political activities. Chinese authorities claim he was "inciting subversion of state power", which is what many political critics have been charged with the last few years. He has been politically active for many years - already in 1989 during the student rebellion in China he was participating. He is an academic, a literature critic and philosopher, he has been the president of the Chinese PEN Center, and he is one of the authors of Charter 08 which is a document calling for greater political freedom, freedom of speech and respect for human rights in China. 

Chinese diplomats reportedly approached the Norwegian Nobel Committee earlier this year, warning that Sino-Norwegian relations might be affected if the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a Chinese dissident. Fortunately the Nobel Committee - which, again it must be underscored, is independent of the Norwegian government - has never been afraid of making controversial decisions, and if anything, attempts at influencing the committee has often had the opposite effect than intended. 

Whether or not the relations between Norway and China really will be affect remains to be seen. Whether the prize will have any effect for the laureate also remains to be seen. Experts report that it is unlikely that he will be released from prison, but that the publicity the prize generates will at least make it difficult to treat him badly while he is in prison. In the long run a prize such as this might be one of many things that eventually will make China have to revise its human rights policy. Maybe. 

Comparable, perhaps, to this laureate is the 1991 laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is still imprisoned in Burma. The Burmese junta has announced that she will be released in November this year, but it remains to be seen if this will really happen and whether that will have an effect on the political climate in Burma. Hopefully it will. For Burma it has taken (at least) 19 years. How long will it take for China?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fitting, I think, since he also was a man of peace, Google is doing a tribute to John Lennon in honour of his 70th birthday tomorrow. I know I will Imagine all the people, living life in peace. May John Lennon's imagination one day ring true! 

12 comments:

Rayna M. Iyer said...

For all practical purposes, you got it right, Mari. A true student of political science you are *doffs the same non-existent hat which Mari didn't have to eat* (I know you will say history is not political science, but they are close enough).

And let's hope this change doesn't take as long as Aung San Suu Kyi's does.

Cruella Collett said...

I've been dabbling in pol-sci too, so I'm not too offended ;) And I agree. I hope it will not take as long. I fear it will take longer.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

T5his was very interesting to read and I was suprised that I enjoyed reading it. I am not usually up in that field, but I do hope as you does It will not take long.


Have a lovely day.
Yvonne,

welcome to my world of poetry said...

T5his was very interesting to read and I was suprised that I enjoyed reading it. I am not usually up in that field, but I do hope as you does It will not take long.


Have a lovely day.
Yvonne,

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Saw that on the news this morning. Hopefully it doesn't make things worse for him.

Jen Daiker said...

Thanks for giving the link to part one, it seems I've missed some very informative posts! I'm with world of poetry, though I don't normally read about this it was very fascinating!!!

LTM said...

you are a wizard genius. And all we are saying... is give peace a chance. ;p <3

Cold As Heaven said...

I saw a picture of him with a cigarette in the paper. I thought the peace prize could only be given to non-smokers. Anyway, great choice by the Nobel committee >:)

Cold As Heaven

Anonymous said...

there is a certain intellectual and spiritual fall acrioss the europe
norwich are too sensitive to the drama of xiabao when otzalan is in prison for 11 years and he made the same things with the first one

it is very hypocritical the whole situation and we must not forget that norwich let mandela for 35 years in prison because they wanted good relations with the fascists of apartheid

nobel ended up an instrument
for politicalk differences
[comission was very annoyed by the
involvement and the assistance of
china to the greek nation and others that suffer and they are not the rich and the wealthy like norwich


arrogance is a very bad thing

www.arelis.gr
a website that some democratic cycles in europe attack it with full of spams because they do not believe in democracy and freedom of speech as they claim

Anonymous said...

there is a certain intellectual and spiritual fall acrioss the europe
norwich are too sensitive to the drama of xiabao when otzalan is in prison for 11 years and he made the same things with the first one

it is very hypocritical the whole situation and we must not forget that norwich let mandela for 35 years in prison because they wanted good relations with the fascists of apartheid

nobel ended up an instrument
for politicalk differences
[comission was very annoyed by the
involvement and the assistance of
china to the greek nation and others that suffer and they are not the rich and the wealthy like norwich


arrogance is a very bad thing

www.arelis.gr
a website that some democratic cycles in europe attack it with full of spams because they do not believe in democracy and freedom of speech as they claim

Cruella Collett said...

Yvonne - I'm glad you liked it. I tend to get on the side of nerdy when it comes to the Nobel Prize, so it's good to know it is still readable ;)

Alex - that is certainly a concern, but often the international attention the prize generates makes mistreatment more difficult. Let's hope that will also be the case here.

Jen - glad you liked it. And today's laureate is particularly interesting for those who us who are occupied with the written word, as freedom of speech is crucial to our opportunity for doing what we love the most.

Leigh - if I was a wizard genius I would just magic some peace... In the meantime - YES - let's give it a chance!

CAH - haha, the funny thing is I though EXACTLY the same. I'm starting to think we've been brainwashed... (Though, doesn't Obama smoke the occasional cig as well?)

Anonymous - first of all, you make some interesting points, and I am glad that you want to share them here. That is your right, a right we celebrate today with the current laureate.

I agree with you that there are other deserving candidates. The Nobel Committee can't give the prize to everyone at the same time, though, and while you might say that Liu has recently had some attention for his case - part of that attention came as a result of the guesses that he might receive the award.

As for the candidate you mention specifically, I am not familiar with him (other than what I could deduce from googling him), so I can't comment on that.

On Mandela - I agree that the treatment of him, both from South African authorities and the lack of reaction (during his 27 years in prison) from the international community was terrible. Norway (and I guess, technically also Norwich, but I am assuming you mean Norway)was definitely a part of this, and Norwegian authorities could have done more, sooner. However, South Africa is an excellent example of how international pressure once it was applied worked. The apartheid regime eventually had to back down.

Greece is definitely struggling at the moment, as a result of poor financial management. Norway have not to my knowledge contributed to their aid, unless you count our contribution to the European Union (despite the fact that we are not a member), which in turn HAS contributed considerably (and for the record, Norway does contribute more than most nations in assistance of countries far more financially dependent than Greece). It was not to my knowledge that China contributed to save the Greek economy, but this might be correct. Regardless, I am fairly sure that the INDEPENDENT Nobel Committee did not consider this in the decision process. In fact, I have a hard time understanding what Greece, or even Norwegian economy, has to do with this. Again, let me remind you that the Nobel Committee is independent of Norwegian authorities. (If anything, Norwegian economic arrogance would have been an argument against choosing Liu, because Norway has considerable interests in China, which depend on keeping a friendly political climate between the two countries.)

Finally, I am sorry that your website is attacked by spam, but it is a fairly radical accusation to say this is done by "democratic cycles in Europe" who don't really believe in democracy. My experience with spam is that it has very little to do with believing or not believing in democracy. It's generally just, well, spam.

sue said...

Standing ovation to Cruella's reply. Fabulous.*cheer, cheer, clap,clap,clap*

I'd like to have written much more in that blogpost I did, but I want to go back to China, and know they don't take kindly to public criticism. Self censorship was a real dilemma, it really went against the grain, but was probably prudent.

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