Saturday, October 9, 2010

Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize

Wow, exciting news yesterday morning - this year's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. He's the only recipient that was in prison at the time of receiving the award. The committee wants to recognize him for his peaceful protest against the Chinese government.

The Chinese government really is really angry. Apparently, they threatened to break off ties with Norway, even though the committee doesn't have anything to do with the Norwegian government. This prize definitely adds more pressure on China regarding its lack of political freedoms for its citizens. The CCP must be so stressed right now - they already are getting called out by the international community on economic issues such as their currency undervaluation.

I feel like China will feel like this is an attack on their sovereignty and legitimacy. This may open up room for discussion among citizens, but the government itself may become more aggressive, paranoid, and strike out. After all, it is being attacked already for its economic policies and its behavior towards Japan. However, since the Nobel Prize isn't really connected to one actor, China may not have the ability to directly retaliate. I can imagine the government clamping down on internal dissidence more intensely, because it may be afraid of protests generated by this award. After all, its already trying to block Liu Xiaobao's name from internet searches. It's unclear if he himself even knows he won the award.

So, I really want to know your opinion. Do you think he deserves the prize? How do you think the Chinese government will deal with being under the spotlight yet again? Will Chinese citizens start to press for political freedoms again?

This image is courtesy of the LA Times.

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