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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.