Liu Xiabo, co-author of Charter ’08 and long time activist for political reform and freedom of speech, has been awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Better writers than me will be doing justice to this momentous development in the coming days. I’ll link to the best of them as they appear.
My hope now is that the Chinese government put aside their penchant for spite and retribution in the face of opposition, and take the opportunity to gain the international ground they lost when they chose to threaten Norway if they gave Liu the Prize. They can do this by releasing Liu Xiaobo and beginning a new chapter in China’s staggering progress of the last three decades.
Links to articles on the NPP 4 LXB
First up, Tom Lasseter of McClatchy Newspapers
And now James Fallows, who concludes:
There will be much to discuss over the months and years. For this moment, admiration for the courage, sacrifice, and endurance of Liu and the countless other Chinese people who have worked for a more liberal and mature society, and respects to the Nobel committee for a brave choice.
Evan Osnos at The New Yorker
I welcome the Nobel Committee’s decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Liu Xiaobo. Last year, I noted that so many others who have received the award had sacrificed so much more than I. That list now includes Mr. Liu, who has sacrificed his freedom for his beliefs. By granting the prize to Mr. Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
As I said last year in Oslo, even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal to all human beings. Over the last 30 years, China has made dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. But this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected. We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.
Jeremiah Jenne takes a swipe at China’s ignoble response:
Not to take anything away from Liu’s obvious set of large brass ones or his and his family’s sacrifice, but this Prize is as much a testament to the CCP’s continued paranoia and basic stupidity when confronted with even the most mild of statements for systemic or institutional change as it is about any one man.
More on China’s reaction from Jason Miks at The Diplomat
A good, balanced view from Peter Foster at The Telegraph
Fang Lizhi articulates why this award is important in an NYT op-ed:
As the unfortunate history of Japan during the first half of the 20th century illustrates, a rising economic power that violates human rights is a threat to peace.
Thankfully, the courageous Nobel Committee has exposed this link once again in the case of a prospering China. The committee is absolutely right to make a connection between respect for human rights and world peace. As Alfred Nobel so well understood, human rights are the prerequisite for the “fraternity between nations.”