Nobel Peace Prize 2010 awarded China dissident Liu Xiaobo

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2010 Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. From the committee’s announcement it’s written:”Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal and this 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 lies 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”. The whole idea by awarding Xiaobo, is to take the opportunity to focus on that – I guess.

Since my blog is about Norway: our history, culture, traditions and habits, this important yearly event is of course to be mentioned. However, since this is political dynamite, I shall be careful with my personal view on pro et contra – In my blog’s theme, I’ll give you some facts and reaction from the press in Norway instead:

The Committee’s independence:
Jagland with 2010 award winnerSome have the idea of The Norwegian Nobel Committee represent the official Norwegian Political authority – or in general the (whole) nation of people for that matter – It’s not so! In the beginning, the committee was filled with active parliamentarians, but ties were later weakened so that the committee became more independent. Now, active parliamentarians cannot sit on the committee, unless they have explicitly stated their intent to step down shortly. The committee have their own mandate and act as independents as the constitutional freedom of the press. (Photo: Andersen, Aleksander/Scanpix -> T. Jagland, the chairman of the committee with a picture of Xiaobo).

Comments and reactions from Norway:
Jonas G. Støre (Foreign Minister): “Liu Xiaobo has become a symbol of opposition to the Communist Party, which shows no signs of giving in to Western pressure to implement democratic reforms.
China has previously expressed a pressure against the Norwegian government and warned that Liu Xiaobo is awarded the Peace Prize. Minister stressed that the Nobel Committee is independent. There is no basis for China to take measures against Norway if they disagree with the price.”

Chinese in Norway: “We believe it is inappropriate. It creates more conflict between Norway and China, as Chinese officials have protested strongly against the deal” says Spokesman Ya Ming Yuen the Norwegian-Chinese Association. The statements came after both the Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassy has protested against the controversial Nobel Peace Prize-decision.
– A peace prize is to create peace. If a price creates conflict, then it becomes a problem. Therefore, we believe the distribution is inappropriate, “said Ya.

A threat to trade between Norway and China:
It is not long since the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee was in China to establish a free trade agreement with the country. The theme for the meeting between the Minister for fisheries and aquaculture issues is the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, trade issues and resource management. Today, China is the eighth largest purchaser of Norwegian fish, and so far this year, exports of fish there for 1.5 billion.

Some believe this will have consequences for the relationship between Norway and China. There is no doubt about the leadership of the Communist Party feels humiliated and there will be a strong reaction, and they have a tradition of over-reacting. The question is how long the relationship between China and Norway will be harmed by the current allocation?

Is it worth the consequences?
Most likely, Liu Xiabos chair in the award ceremony at the City Hall December 10th, will be empty. Probably he will not be informed that he has won the award at all. Already now CNN’s broadcasts to China to be blocked (or was at the announcement this morning) – and his His wife sits in the practice of house arrest today.

There are plenty of other good candidates – also this year – for the peace prize. It would have been a lot more easy to award a less controversial candidate too – like last year. I am happy The Norwegian Nobel Committee make some unpopular decisions that at least set focus on delicate, political matters – small or big, local or global.

For those who want to stay neutral in comments on this; have you noticed the announcement of this award at all?

9 Comments

  1. Hello Renny!
    I put two posts today in my Blog about this award. In the last one I put a link to your blog, to this post. Go and see.
    Thanks for share information and kisses to you and Diane.
    http://peroladecultura.blogspot.com/2010/10/liu-xiaobo-ja-consta-no-jardim-do-nobel.html

  2. Sad, that China is still in the dark ages when it comes to basic democratic freedoms that we in the Western world take so much for granted. The Nobel Committee, even though some may claim they are not political, are in fact political, whether they admit it or not. By their choices, they will be perceived by many as supportive of a particular ideology. Yet, most of the time, I agree with their choices. My two cents worth from Canada. All the best Renny!

  3. I hadn’t heard about this prize yet, Renny, so if anything, it has made me more aware of what’s happening in the world today. I appreciate Norway’s role in doing this for the rest of us!

  4. Lots of comments on the Nobel Peace Prize award in favour of Norway and poor comments on China in English newspapers. Some people are so brave to stand for their beliefs.

  5. Hi Renny,

    It seems like we telepathically agreed upon writing about (more or less) the same issue lol ;).

    To stay neutral about this case is to be a coward (I wish I could apologise for being blunt, but I can’t), which is the same as saying “to be a political and social humpty dumpty”.
    We see people, mainly Left Wingers, protesting against this and that; spitting on the US, the G20, G8, Israel; we see them defending Hamas, Hezbollah (under the flag of supporting the Palestinians and the Lebanese, of course…soon it will be Iran); but we don’t see them protesting against Sudan, against China (I know, maybe they buy €1 products in Chinese stores), against Saudi Arabia and alike…no, why should they? After all, it is not appealing.

    Here it is an honourable Professor (Liu Xiaobo), a soldier of democracy, arrested for fighting for freedom (something we take for granted on this side of the world, forgetting that our ancestors fought for it); having his wife incarcerated because he won the Nobel and yet what does the Left do? Nothing. They are quiet as mice.

    Norway did well to grant this award to Professor Xiaobo.
    And it is about time Europe stops being afraid of China (a country that oppresses its own people and supports oppressive nations [North Korean, Fiji, Sudan, just to name a few) – I’m sick of it!

    Excellent post, Renny!

    Cheers

    Cheers

  6. What Max said. He’s right on the money.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug to you and Diane. :)

  7. I’m confident China will get there and open more and more in the next few years. Unfortunately, the government is still from another generation which would rather control the citizens in order to achieve other kinds of successes, including economic success.

    But the new generation is here… Chinese travel more and more, study abroad and communicate with the diaspora worldwide.

    On the other side, I think we, the Western Countries, should not be too arrogant either. Some of us still live in countries with death penalty, in countries that don’t respect the right of its minority including new immigrants and gay people etc. We are not perfect either…

  8. China is slowly opening to the world, but they guard their internal affairs and citizens’ freedom fervently. They wont ever allow a foreign country to interfere with its politics, esp the US ‘the world traffic police’. LOL

    Human rights and freedom for the Chinese citizens are still a long way to go. We can only sit and ponder when the day will come. :)

  9. Excellent post. Thank you, Renny.

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