The “Little Emperor”

A word of praise is in order for the Nobel Peace Prize committee.  Two weeks ago they awarded the honor to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident currently serving an 11-year prison term for having the audacity to think that China should afford its citizenry basic human rights and freedoms.  Some say this year’s recipient is a reminder of what the award is designed to represent after what they see as a few dubious selections over the past several years. Whether that is true or not, Mr. Liu certainly espouses the ideals of the prize.  He has been a tireless advocate of political participation and public expression, with a history going back to the Tiananmen protest of 1989 when he tried to negotiate a peaceful end to the ordeal.  His efforts greatly mitigated the human toll when the tanks eventually rolled in.  He is now serving his third prison sentence for championing the rights of Chinese people. The committee deserves praise, however, not for the recipient they chose, but for the interference they overcame — no, ignored — in awarding it.  Ten days before the committee was to make its final decision the Chinese government sent a letter of warning to the Oslo committee.  In the letter, China argued that bestowing the Nobel on such a criminal as Mr. Liu would defile the intent of the award.  Furthermore, and this...

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