Liu Xiaobo has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. To most people, including myself, this name is unfamiliar in a world filled with struggle. Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese professor is one of China’s most famous dissidents, in a struggle to bring more human rights in a country that professes Communism while in pursuit of world power through economics. China has been seeking this coveted prize for some time, hoping to place China in the eyes of the world as a country with great minds and world contributions. Ironically, the very person China would not wish to win this prize does.
Although this prize contains a medal and a million-dollar award for Liu Xiaobo, the free press is priceless to a man sitting in a Chinese prison serving an eleven-year sentence for speaking out against the Chinese government. His crime? Campaigning for political freedoms in a country filled with contradictions and hard-line repression of anyone daring to speak out against the aging rulers in a one-party government.
China is filled with huge disparities now between the factory workers who work incredible hours for cheap wages, poor people, displaced farmers and a small class of increasingly wealthy Chinese who forget the very people who put them into this superrich category. Mansions exist in areas that would fool people into believing they are in Europe or the United States. This world, inaccessible to the average Chinese worker seems a sad testament to hard work and low wages to sell cheap goods to the world.
China must change, but until the world recognizes this need for change, the world will continue to close eyes to the push for human rights in China, as well as, the rest of the world. China is threatening the health of the environment with lax controls and the quick devouring of the world’s resources to generate more profits. The world seldom hears of the health damage to people, deaths from toxic spills or a toxic environment.
People, who dare to speak out like Liu Xiaobo, are imprisoned or dead, because their voices are the voices of reason. When human rights are established in China, the Chinese government will have to be accountable for all the false promises, the suffering and the despair of so many Chinese citizens. If China is promoting change, the change needs to begin in the government, because an old system in a new world simply will not provide the progressive human dignity required for a positive change.
Liu Xiaobo may be one quiet voice in a sea of many voices, but his voice speaks of reasonable change, basic change for all his fellow Chinese citizens. The Chinese government, like so many governments, has forgotten that the economic good is for ALL Chinese citizens to the poorest farmer in some isolated region of China. The Chinese government may be able refrain people like Liu Xiaobo, for only a limited time, before the voice for change can no longer be stifled.
Liu Xiaobo should be commended for his actions and sacrifices. He chooses to speak out at the cost of his freedom, resists the old ways and campaigns tirelessly for change China so desperately needs. The Nobel Prize went to one who is deserves world praise and support for his sacrifices. And when change finally comes, as all societies inevitably evolve, his name will be at the top of the list of Chinese people who contributed to this change.