News / Asia

Three Questions: China and the Nobel Peace Prize

A pro-democracy demonstator takes a photograph next to a portrait of mainland dissident Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration in Hong Kong, 1 Jan. 2010.
A pro-democracy demonstator takes a photograph next to a portrait of mainland dissident Liu Xiaobo during a demonstration in Hong Kong, 1 Jan. 2010.

The decision to award China's most famous dissident Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize has immediately drawn attention to the Beijing government's tolerance for human rights and freedom of expression.  

VOA spoke to Amnesty International's Corinna-Barbara Francis, who says the rights group believes he's a very deserving individual:

"We are hopeful that this will have an impact in China. That this will bring about change and progress in the way that the Chinese government treats individuals who are simply speaking out, expressing their views, urging democratization, urging the respect for human rights."

Amnesty has stated that this is now going to throw a major spotlight on what you call the human rights abuses in China, how so?

"As we're doing right now, there'll be increased attention paid not only to Liu Xiaobo, but also many of the dozens of other activists who have spoken out, worked really tirelessly, been jailed for promoting freedom of expression, for promoting respect for human rights.  The international community will hopefully pay greater attention to the fact that  Liu Xiaobo is not alone, in fact, in the activities that he's been conducting."

Liu Xiaobo wrote his now-famous pro-democracy manifesto in 2008. In it, he called for peaceful but substantial political reforms. The government felt it was an inflammatory challenge. Why?

"Well, it should not have been an inflammatory ingredient in his relationship because it's a core document which asks for extremely reasonable reforms to China's political systems. It's asking for democratization, for respect of human rights, for things that are very basic and which China itself recognizes.  And China has signed many international treaties at the United Nations, which respect freedom of expression and freedom of religion, various other freedoms.  These are things that China itself has committed to respecting. So there's nothing in the charter that is anything that is beyond what China itself is committed to adhering to.  So there is really no reason for that charter to have been inflammatory.  It's the Chinese government's choice to react in that way.  It's a very basic document which calls for things that I think people all around the world would recognize as fundamental rights."

If you look at human rights human rights as a fundamental right, why are the Chinese so upset? Do they see this new Nobel Peace Prize winner as a trouble maker?

"He has been charged with inciting subversion of state power. This leads us to understand that an individual who simply speaks out in a peaceful way in an effort to promote democracy, in an effort to promote human rights, in an effort to promote people's basic rights, is seen as something dangerous for the Chinese government's, for the state's power.  And that's very problematic."

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid