Friday, October 8, 2010

Peace Prize

Speaking of putting things in perspective

From the New York Times:

Liu Xiaobo, an impassioned literary critic, political essayist and democracy advocate repeatedly jailed by the Chinese government for his writings, won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in recognition of “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

Mr. Liu, 54, perhaps China’s best known dissident, is currently serving an 11-year term on subversion charges.

China lashed out at the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision, calling it a blasphemy.

“Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement quoted by The Associated Press. The committee’s decision “runs completely counter to the principle of the prize and is also a blasphemy to the peace prize.” It said the decision would damage relations between China and Norway.

Mr. Liu is the first Chinese citizen to win the Peace Prize and one of three laureates to have received it while in prison.

In awarding the prize to Mr. Liu, the Norwegian Nobel Committee delivered an unmistakable rebuke to Beijing’s authoritarian leaders at a time of growing intolerance for domestic dissent and spreading unease internationally over the muscular diplomacy that has accompanied China’s economic rise.

In a move that in retrospect may have been counterproductive, a senior Chinese official recently warned the Norwegian committee’s chairman that giving the prize to Mr. Liu would adversely affect relations between the two countries.