Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident and prisoner of conscience, is the 2010 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The award will thrill lovers of freedom the world over almost as much as it will infuriate the Beijing regime.
In fact, the Chinese government has already suggested that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo will cause strains in the relationship between China and Norway, where the Peace Prize is awarded. News of the award was blacked out by Chinese media.
Liu has been a long-time opponent of the Chinese regime. He was a participant in the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in 1989, which were bloodily crushed by the Chinese Army. He went to prison soon after the crackdown, to be released in 1991. Liu was sent to a reeducation camp five years later for calling for the impeachment of Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Liu was released three years later. In 2008, Liu wrote a document called Charter 08 calling for human rights in China. He was arrested hours before the document was to be released, and last December was sentenced to an 11-year prison term for “subversion.”
Liu Xiaobo’s takes a peaceful mode in opposing the Chinese regime, a hard, principled stance considering the zeal with which that regime uses force to suppress dissidents.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee often uses the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to make a statement, as well as to honor a recipient. Oftentimes the Peace Prize will go to someone who has suffered in the struggle for human rights, such as Liu, highlighting the abuses some government or another is inflicting. Such recipients include Martin Luther King, Lech Walesa, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi (herself still imprisoned), and Kim Dae Jung.
Certainly the human rights abuses committed by China over the past several decades are worthy of being illustrated. Even after the restoration of economic freedom after the death of Mao, China persists in denying its people political freedom. Both political and religious dissidents are regularly imprisoned or, as in the case of the Tiananmen Square protests, murdered.
China tends not to react very well to criticism, but rather to lash out with anger and threats. That seems to be the stance the Beijing regime is taking to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu. Ironically, this would tend to lead to more publicity to the struggle by Liu and other dissidents against the human rights abuses inflicted by the Chinese regime. The Chinese regime’s biggest weapon is suppressing news of opposition. Liu Xiaobo is said to be almost unknown within China, outside the dissident community, Perhaps, despite the Chinese suppression of the media, that will begin to change.
Source: Chinese Dissident Liu Wins Nobel Peace Prize, Karl Ritter, AP, October 8th, 2010