News / Asia

    Analysts: Dissident's Nobel Prize a 'Running Sore' for China

    Plainclothes policemen (L and R) keep watch outside the house of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, in Beijing on 08 Dec 2010
    Plainclothes policemen (L and R) keep watch outside the house of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, in Beijing on 08 Dec 2010

    China's government is attempting to limit the impact of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Analysts and rights activists say that although the immediate affect of the award on political reform in China will likely be minimal, Liu receiving the peace prize shows that China's tightly controlled society is continually pushing for change.  

    China has warned countries not to attend Friday's ceremony in Oslo - criticizing the Nobel Committee, calling the award "profane" and accusing the international community of meddling in China's internal affairs.

    Kwame Anthony Appiah, president of the PEN American Center, a writers' group that promotes freedom of expression, spoke about Liu at a recent U.S. congressional committee hearing - sponsored by the Congressional Executive Commission on China.  He said that despite Beijing's reaction, Liu's treatment is an international matter.

    "By detaining Liu Xiaobo for more than a year and then by convicting and sentencing him to 11 years in prison - in clear violation of his most fundamental internationally recognized rights - the People's Republic of China itself has guaranteed that his case is not and cannot be a purely internal affair," said Appiah.

    Pro-democracy protesters with banners bearing photos of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo march to the Chinese government liaison office in Hong Kong, 05 Dec 2010
    Pro-democracy protesters with banners bearing photos of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo march to the Chinese government liaison office in Hong Kong, 05 Dec 2010

    In China, the government has limited access to information about Liu Xiaobo receiving of the Nobel Prize, blocking Internet access to overseas articles about the award and disseminating information critical of Liu.

    Researcher Phelim Kine of Human Rights Watch says that the information most Chinese have received about Liu has been negative and that few people know of him. Speaking at the same congressional committee hearing, Kine said Beijing's focus on the Nobel laureate will draw more attention to Liu and the ideas he has advocated.

    "What the Liu Xiaobo Nobel has created for the Chinese government is a 'running sore' that's going to continue as long as he is imprisoned. As long as there is a news story that refers to imprisoned Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. This is a huge embarrassment for the Chinese government," Kine said.

    Kine says he is optimistic that the award will generate more discussion about how similar cases should be handled in the future.  Soon after Liu's award was announced, 23 senior retired former communist party officials and intellectuals issued a public letter calling Liu a "splendid choice" and urging the Chinese government to end its censorship of free speech.

    "This is the beginning of a trend that we are going to see. Obviously, there is going to be discussion between moderates and the people who really fought for and won in terms of punishing Liu Xiaobo," he added.

    Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence for what the Chinese government says is subversion of the state. He co-authored an online petition that called for democratic reform in China.

    Analysts note that as Chinese authorities control access to the Internet, the medium is being used to organize protests and inform the public about corruption and local grievances.

    Elizabeth Economy with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York told the congressional committee that China's leaders fear a loss of control over access to information.

    "The Internet is a political organizing force. It can educate as in the case of the online discussion with the Dalai Lama on Twitter," Economy said. "It can help bring more than 7,000 people to protest in Xiamen. It can bring pressure to bear on authorities for unjust decisions by a swell of outrage on the Internet.  In a sense, every Chinese citizen with a cell phone and Internet access becomes a journalist."

    Political scientist Bruce Gilley of Portland State University agrees.

    "It's precisely because they have lost control of the ability to manage political speech and information that we see this stepped up effort to plug the holes in the dam. But we have to focus on what is happening to the dam rather than the holes they are trying to plug," he said.

    Gilley told the panel that when the United States thinks about the policies it adopts with respect to China, it should carefully consider the impact of those policies on domestic reforms.

    "Just as we in some ways mistook what is happening in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, we are in danger of mistaking what is happening in China today," Gilley said.  

    As for Liu Xiaobo's fate, analysts say that Chinese leaders eventually will be forced to release him into foreign exile under the weight of international pressure.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora