Sunday, October 10, 2010


"Cease, then, nor Order imperfection name;
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit: in this or any other sphere,
Secure to be as bless'd as thou canst bear;
Safe in the hand of one disposing Power,
Or in the natal or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art unknown to thee;
All chance direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good:
And spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right".

Alexander Pope, Essay on Man (1732).

"As decision day nears for the Nobel Peace Prize nominations, the Chinese government has gone on high alert. Long-time Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo has once again been floated as a contender for this year’s Peace prize. Liu was trained as a scholar but has made his name by calling for political change—first as a Tiananmen activist and most recently for drafting Charter 08, a wide ranging manifesto for political reform in China. He is now in the midst of serving his third—and at eleven years his longest—prison term.

Thus far, Beijing’s response to Liu’s potential Nobel has been disappointing but unsurprising. China’s deputy foreign minister reportedly threatened Norway…not that Norway has anything to do with the Nobel decisions; and foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu claimed that Liu’s actions are “diametrically opposed to the aims of the Nobel prize.”

Instead of wasting time trying to bully the committee into not awarding Liu the Nobel Peace prize, Beijing should seize the opportunity to ally itself with Liu’s and the Chinese people’s emerging political interests. There are noises for change everywhere in China. Over the past six months, Premier Wen Jiabao has been talking non-stop about the need for real political reform. Hu Shuli, editor of Century Weekly magazine, published a no-nonsense editorial claiming the time for political change is now. And China’s Internet is alive with discussions about the need to match thirty years of economic openness with a similar political push. There is even an online campaign to support Liu’s nomination underway among Chinese scholars and activists.

Liu falls squarely into a Nobel Peace Prize tradition—that of the human rights activist calling for peaceful political reform. Kim Dae Jung, Lech Walesa, and Aung San Suu Kyi are but a few previous such winners. Others such as Vaclav Havel and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu are urging the Nobel Committee to award Liu this year’s Peace prize.

It’s time for Beijing to get on board as well. Awarding Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize would be good not just for Liu but also for China’s continued economic growth, as well as its emergence and reputation as a global power—not to mention for all the other reformers in the country who are ready to come out of the closet.

Elizabeth Economy,"Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel Prize - Beijing [Peking] should seize the moment," 1 October 2010 in

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chinese authorities are detaining the wife of jailed Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Price laureate Liu Xiaobo at her Beijing apartment, a U.S. human rights group said on Sunday.

In a statement, Freedom Now said that Liu Xia has not been charged with a crime but has not been allowed to leave her home or use her mobile telephone after visiting her husband in jail to tell him about his award.

When he heard the news, Liu Xiaobo cried and said the Nobel "award is for the Tiananmen martyrs," according to the Washington-based group, which said it represents the Chinese dissident. The group works worldwide for the release prisoners of conscience and provides free legal counsel.

Freedom Now lawyer and spokeswoman Beth Schwanke said one of the group's human rights specialists, Yang Jianli, obtained news of Liu Xia's detention from a source in China they could not name over fears that the informant would also be detained.

"Liu Xia is under enormous pressure," said Jianli, who the group said is currently in Taiwan.

Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for two decades of non-violent struggle over human rights, infuriating China, which called the award "an obscenity.

The prize shines a spotlight on human rights in China at a time when it is starting to play a leading role on the global stage as a result of its growing economic might.

Liu has been in and out of jail since 1989, when he joined student protesters on a hunger strike days before the army crushed the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement. He was jailed for 11 years in December for subversion of state power.

Liu Xia said on Friday she was being taken to visit her husband in jail but that police were preventing her from talking to reporters".

Susan Heavey,"China detains Nobel Peace winner's wife: U.S. rights group," 10 October 2010 in

The true importance of the awarding of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident, locked-away in prison for another ten more years, with his spouse being detained under house-arrest upon the news of the prize being awarded, is as follows: that, au fond the regime in Peking is not, in the least interested in accommodating itself to western norms of Democracy, pluralism and Human Rights. And, that indeed as far as the rulers of the PRC are concerned, it is the outside world in general, and the West in particular which should accommodate itself to the current norms of the PRC. Failing which the erring party can expect the type of savage rhetorical onslaughts that we have been witnessing since Friday past. As well as the unconcealed diplomatic pressure that Peking has endeavored to utilize (thankfully fruitlessly) vis-`a-vis Oslo. The sort of diplomatic pyrotechnics worthy of Sovietskaya Vlast at its best (Id est its worst). And, that type of Leibnizian (or should one say Panglossian) hopes of commentators like Elizabethh Economy, that the regime will initiate political maneuvers to reconcile itself to the nascent Chinese civil society elements is a mere coup de tete, with no reality behind it. A state of affairs which is part and parcel of the regime's recent diplomatic hard line policies towards many of its neighbors. In classic primat der Innenpolitik fashion, Peking prefers to 'reconcile' Chinese civil society to itself, rather than the reverse via an aggressive and Hurrah-patriotismus type of foreign policy. Looking at matters from this vantage point, I for one do not see for the foreseeable future, any 'political openings' coming out of Peking for quite awhile to come.


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