General Question

mattbrowne's avatar

What effect will the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo have short term, mid term and long term?

Asked by mattbrowne (31588points) October 9th, 2010


The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the “fraternity between nations” of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.

Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal. The country now has the world’s second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Scope for political participation has also broadened.

China’s new status must entail increased responsibility. China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights. Article 35 of China’s constitution lays down that “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”. In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China’s citizens.

For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China. He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power”. Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China’s own constitution and fundamental human rights.

Does he deserve the Nobel Peace Prize in your opinion? What are your thoughts about China dealing with this right now? What about the future?

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12 Answers

mammal's avatar

i think so, China’s Human rights abuses are legendary, it’s like their national sport or something, they are the all time champs. When the government declared open season on the Tiananmen square protesters, the world was sickened. The communist ideology is hollow and brazenly hypocritical, notwithstanding the privileges enjoyed by the cadres who surreptitiously cut the red tape for their business buddies at every level….the luxuriate politburo has sold out every communist principle to the highest bidder, snuggling up to billionaires and entrepreneurs, whilst brutally stifling trade unionism for the low paid millions slogging it out in oppressive factories day ofter tedious day. The torture and treatment of dissidents is unspeakable. The gap between rich and poor is so big you wonder if they live on the same planet let alone in the same country. When the Dalai Lama recognised Gedhun Choekyi Nyima of Tibet in 1989 as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama, the boy was promptly disappeared by the Chinese authorities, never to be seen again. Apparently for his own safety. Totally sick.

BoBo1946's avatar

Yes, it will send a message to the whole world about human rights, especially the Chinese government. Things are changing in China. With the huge increase in their economy, people are demanding higher wages etc. I think in the coming years China will change signficantly in the human rights area.

mammal's avatar

@BoBo1946 so will the American economy who’s corporations enjoy the profitable benefits of China’s woefully underpaid and overworked labour force. The weird thing is, that were communism not an aspect of China, even in name only, the CIA would be actively looking to ensure that China retains the status quo, warts and all, actually what America mostly yearns for, is nothing to change at all, except for the Politburo to be replaced by an even more corrupt gang of Chinesey looking marionettes who’s strings are tugged by Washington.

92elements's avatar

More than Obama yes

BoBo1946's avatar

@mammal that is going to change. And, when it does, it will bring inflation back into the equation. I saw a good documentary on the workers in China negotiating for higher wages. China is on the threshold making huge changes. I would hate to think our government would deter that change. Who knows! It is a mean and crazy World.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Short term?

I hear his wife has gone missing.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’m tickled by @mammal‘s pining for lost “Communist principles” in China.

But back to a serious answer… the Nobel Prize and Liu, worthy as he may be of it (or what it was and used to represent, before it was awarded to Obama as some sort of popularity contest prize) will have no effect on Chinese policies or politics. (I’m afraid that since Obama’s fraudulent award of it, the prize itself isn’t worthy of its winners.) No effect short term or long. It means nothing to China.

I don’t doubt that China will have a hard time both modernizing its economy (as it already is, of course) and enriching a middle class (which it can hardly avoid) ... and still keeping it content to quietly toe the party line—and that phrase is used deliberately. China is waking up in every way that a country can: economically, militarily… and politically.

Change—and more political freedom for its citizens—is headed for China, one of these days, or years. I’m puzzled by the Chinese leaders’ reluctance to embrace that, because aside from their own jobs which would be in jeopardy (having to run for elections and take the chance of losing can be kind of nerve-wracking, if you don’t have a family fortune to fall back on if you lose), more freedom in China will only make the country as a whole much stronger and more powerful than it is already shaping up to be.

I’m reminded of a Japanese historian who said (in the late 80s or 90s, I think), that: “The Twentieth Century was America’s time. The Twenty-First Century will be… America’s as well.” And I don’t doubt that it still can be. But we’d better turn off the television, saddle up our horses and start to ride if we’re going to make that true. It won’t be true just because we (Americans, anyway) want it to be.

mattbrowne's avatar

The world was in favor of China hosting the Olympic Games in 2008 because there was the hope that the human rights situation would improve. What a disappointment. China didn’t hold its end of the bargain. The carrot approach didn’t work.

I applaud the Nobel Prize committee’s decision. It’s time to play hardball with the criminal politicians running China. It’s time to show more open support for people like Liu Xiaobo. Who has never used any violence. Who has just expressed his opinion. No country should throw people into jail for this. Short term Chinese politicians will fake outrage, but long term their days are numbered. The Internet is key in this process. Censorship only works up to a point. Freedom-loving people in China have found ways around this. And this Prize will encourage them further.

mammal's avatar

@CyanoticWasp i’m glad you find my commentary amusing, because i’m not tickled by your amateur analyses one iota..uh uh….and you imagine the world can support the nouveau riche of China, a gargantuan suburban class, thundering around in their SUV’s, you don’t imagine that will place an intolerable strain on the planet politically and ecologically?

You would have a new consumer class that dwarfs America’s. i think you assume China will quietly evolve politically into the Eastern image of America. That is shamelessly naive.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’m sorry if I let you think for even a minute that I’m “amused” by your wistful yearning for “lost Communist principles” ... because I’m not, really. I think that attitude is astonishingly silly, and to use one of your words to describe me (shameless is good, btw) naive; hopelessly naive. Not amusing in the least.

I’ve been to China a couple of times, and if there’s a “suburban class thundering around” in SUVs, I haven’t seen that yet. But no, I don’t think the demands of a Chinese middle class will place “an intolerable strain on the planet” ecologically. And I wonder how they could ‘politically’. Yes, but will place a strain on resources; it will make them more expensive and make us dig deeper for them. It will cause ecological strain on wildlife and other species, no doubt.

But as the Chinese middle class evolves it will also do a lot to free the citizens, as @mattbrowne has suggested, and I think that as they get freer and generate lives they can enjoy for the sake of themselves instead of “the state”, then I think we’re less likely to have major political conflict with them, too.

I have no illusions about the size of the wakening consumer class there. Dwarf America’s (consumer class)? Hell, it will dwarf all of North America and Europe combined. I can’t wait. Not everything they buy will be “Made in China”, either.

mammal's avatar

@CyanoticWasp yes i suspected you’ve been there hence your interest in the question,

Ok i was remiss, in that i neglected to refer to the possible exponential increase in consumerism and demand for resources, which might surprise you to know, can occasionally lead to political tension, which i meant too, which actually you were kind enough to point out. So you’ve kind of clarified my position for me.

Not sure what you mean by my nostalgia for the communist era. i just yearn for an end to the sham and the humbug, having been to China myself i can assure you i certainly don’t miss those speakers in the train compartments that squeal out that whiny propaganda, a tiny improvement would be an off switch. That would be progress, oh and toilets that aren’t swamped with faeces and alive with vermin, that too.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@mammal I was remarking on part of your opening response:
“the luxuriate politburo has sold out every communist principle to the highest bidder”
I was laughing grimacing at the idea that someone still thinks that there are ‘communist principles’ (outside of a family, anyway, where communism is still the workable rule).

Sham and humbug are part of the human condition in society. Surely you know that. Put two strangers together and the sham and humbug start automatically as they attempt to outdo each other in any way you can imagine: my dad is stronger than yours; my mom is prettier than yours; I’m smarter than you; I make more money than you do; my kids are nicer / smarter / better athletes than yours; my grandkids are smarter than yours; my aches and pains are worse than yours. It’s all sham and humbug. (I haven’t forgotten singles bars, by the way—sham and humbug raised to a high power.)

I think as long as we compete peacefully for resources and just whine about relative economic pains, then I can handle the inevitable political tension that comes with that. For example, whether or not China takes de facto ownership of the South China Sea by virtue of its scattered island holdings and thereby does its own oil drilling in the region, or not, is largely immaterial. The fact is that someone is going to drill and recover oil there—and then sell the oil. Nobody can eat it.

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