The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize award to Liu Xiaobo yesterday at Oslo made headlines in the West, and as expected, the Western media continued the same narrative. As I was hearing Thorbjorn Jagland over the radio presenting the award and then followed by Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann’s reading aloud Liu’s statements (written two days prior to his 11-year sentencing), I was imagining what runs through a typical Westerner’s mind when they hear this presentation. No doubt, Liu would seem like an angelic figure, who wants nothing but the most fundamental things a human desires for all the 1.3 billion Chinese, and for that, he was jailed to 11 years. According to Ullmann’s utterances, there could not be a soul on this planet more gracious and peace loving. For that, Liu deserves the worthy Nobel Peace Prize.
If you have had not already read our two recent posts on this very topic, I recommend resuming this post after doing so. In, “The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo and what it means to the Chinese” we discussed how the Chinese views Liu and what he was actually convicted for. For a better understanding of Liu’s politics, Barry Sautman (a political scientist and lawyer at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology) and Yan Hairong (an anthropologist at Hong Kong Polytechnic University), did a lot of research to come to this conclusion: “Liu Xiaobo Deserves an Ig Nobel Peace Prize.”
Despite Ullmann’s performance, I was not particularly moved.
You see, my grandparent’s home was destroyed by Japanese bombers during WW2. They told me the Japanese army at that time took over the radio stations and were broadcasting songs and messages telling the Chinese they should embrace Japan’s vision of an Asia co-prosperity sphere. It would also deliver the Chinese from the evil European colonists. All they had to do was to turn against their leaders and embrace Japan. The suffering would end.
The Japanese at that time believed in it. Perhaps our history would be completely different if the Chinese were convinced and fought on their side instead. By the way, the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor was just few days ago. Let’s suppose Japan defeats the U.S. in WW2. Under Japan’s wings, China undergoes industrialization 30 years earlier, starting in 1940’s rather than 1970’s. If Deng’s “black cat white cat” axiom was followed, the Chinese people would have embraced Japan when they invaded.
But, the Chinese people didn’t take that path. It was their choice to resist and fight.
Ms. Ullmann’s performance was impeccable, and no doubt of the same convincing qualities of the invading Japanese from WW2. Obviously Norway is not holding a gun, nor is it capable of invading China today. But, the point here is it is up to the Chinese to decide how they move forward on ‘democracy.’ Not up to the Norwegians. Not up to the West. The attitude of the Chinese is best expressed by Buxi:
I think the dominant attitude you’re hearing from the Chinese is basically, if it works for you, great… but we might prefer a different path, especially if it works for us. If you understand that our values and the view they engender might be different… why do you insist on forcing your values and single view on us? Why do you insist that we must eventually follow in your path, if we tell you with all seriousness, that we’re not sure we want to?
Perhaps if the Norwegians can articulate a vision for a ‘democracy’ where it is truly benevolent and won’t invade other countries out of pretense of WMD, then I think the Nobel Peace committee stand a chance of getting the 1.3 billion Chinese to embrace it. The Chinese in fact are embracing elements of ‘democracy’ if you bother to watch Chinese Premier Wen on CNN here: “Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao interview by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria ignored by English ‘China’ blogs.”
But, ‘democracy’ alone is not satisfactory. The CPC has adopted the concept of the Scientific Development Approach into its constitution to guide the country. Here is a version of it articulated by a Westerner, “William Hooper: “The Scientific Development Concept”.”
Do you understand Buxi’s point above?
The Nobel Peace Committee needs to explain why Deng didn’t get the award instead. Deng was responsible for plotting China’s course towards integration with the world and for raising hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens out of abject poverty. They will also need to explain why Obama won the year before and not Deng.
Some argue the way the Chinese government manages China offends their values. Well, some argue the way the Westerners consumes and plunders this planets resources do the same (never-mind their wars). How do we move forward? If the 2010 Nobel Peace Committee wishes to honor what Nobel originally sought to do, they would award the person who could concretely address this question. They should set their sight higher and not be a prostitute to short term politics.
Since the award money is unclaimed, and if there is any humanity in this award, I dare it donate to the Hope Project.
Anyways, I originally set out to simply share what the Russians thought of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. And, here they are from Russia Today: