Attending Nobel Ceremony Threat to Chinese National Security?

Winner Liu Xiaobo isn't the only person the Chinese government is keeping away from his Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony today. Foreign Policy has the details:

In the days that followed the announcement of the prize, Liu Xia [his wife] managed to circulate a letter expressing her desire to see Liu's friends and supporters attend the ceremony in Oslo; her letter included a list of more than a hundred names: Chinese writers, lawyers, academics, journalists, former party cadres, artists, and NGO activists, many with a distinguished record of patiently and peacefully challenging the limits of the one-party system. But after the letter became public, Chinese authorities informed each of those living in China that they would not be permitted to go. Some have been placed under police monitoring or confined at their homes with a retinue of police officers camping outside their doors. Countless other rights activists across the country have been harassed, summoned for questioning, or detained by the Public Security Bureau or state security officers. (The advocacy group China Human Rights Defender has compiled a helpful list of cases.)

Several prominent figures known for their outspoken views, including world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei, the top legal scholar He Weifang, China's famous criminal lawyer Mo Shaoping, and 80-year old economist Mao Yushi, have been banned from traveling ahead of the ceremony on the rationale advanced by border-security officials that such trips would "jeopardize national security."

This won't necessarily be good for China's diplomacy, of course:

Democratic governments the world over will find themselves under pressure from human rights groups to raise Liu's case as long as he is imprisoned. For years, the reaction of foreign diplomats asked to press Beijing on human rights has been to throw up their hands and claim that they didn't know what they could achieve -- but now they know one thing: gaining Liu's release.....

Second, the situation may well create a host of awkward interactions when Chinese leaders travel abroad. Hu Jintao's refusal to hold the customary press conference at the end of his visit to France last month seems to illustrate the Chinese president's fear of being asked embarrassing questions about the imprisoned Nobel laureate.

Third, having become the only country in world with a Nobel Peace Prize laureate currently in prison will hobble China's quest for soft power -- which the Chinese government sees as a necessary attribute of a rising global hegemon. Neither the considerable expansion of the Chinese state media abroad nor the multiplication of Confucius institutes -- government-funded Chinese-language programs established within foreign academic institutions -- is likely to soften China's authoritarian image or make its political system appealing if it keeps Liu in prison for the next decade. Demands for his release are unlikely to decrease over the years, as Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest more than two decades after she received the Nobel Peace Prize demonstrates.

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  • ||

    About fucking time we treat China like the tyranny it is, huh? We don't have to get belligerent in any military sense, but ignoring their oppression, human rights violations, and frequent hostile positions in regards to the West is stupid. There are other, much freer, places with cheap labor to make our shit for us. Like, for instance, India.

  • Max||

    It's a lot more that just a tyrany, you simple-minded piece of shit. It may well be that China's model of state capitalism will be the model that prevails in the 21st century. You're too fucking stupid to learn Chinese, so just keep a low profile.

  • Mex||

    What about me?

  • sevo||

    Max|12.10.10 @ 7:38PM|#
    "It's a lot more that just a tyrany, you simple-minded piece of shit...."

    Spoof or ignoramus? You decide.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Must we choose?

  • PIRS||

    "State capitalism", for those who have not kept up with the left's lexicon, is the newfangled term for Communism.

  • ||

    China is no longer communist in any meaningful sense of the word. Max's choice of words is correct, but of course there are plenty of disgusting historical regimes that practiced "state capitalism" too, so his lauding of it is still misguided.

  • Old Mexican||

    Seriously, seriously... who cares?

  • sevo||

    Under the totally un-proven theory that the more free people there are, the more they will push for freedom in general, I do.

  • Tom Friedman||

    One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.

  • Thomas Friedman||

    You're a goddamn genius, sir.

  • Mao's Ghost||

    We cannot let the one bad finger (45 million political deaths) be the enemy of nine good fingers.

  • Thomas Friedman||

    I will not stand for this bad-mouthing of China. Now, has anyone seen my Clubman wax?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    China... only better than North Korea because they have enough money and sense to not let millions starve for no reason...

    OTOH - I agree with China in a very broad sense.... after Krugman, Gore, then Obama... the Nobel Prize has been shown to be nothing more than a sham, even if the committee got it right this time.

    Broken clock and all that...

  • Johnny Longtorso||

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Wow. What a ridiculous column.

    I work for a government program (local, not federal, but still). I don't make a lot of money. But I can tell you that I make way, way more money than I deserve for the amount of work I do. Most days I have literally NO WORK to do. I sit in my office and dick around on the internet all day.

  • GILMORE||

    The author also describes himself as 'highly educated', but uses apostrophes to indicate plural...

    Sorry, I mean apostrophe's. I aint no Elitist. Or sorry... Eliteist. Damn!!

  • ||

    So you freely admit that you take money at gunpoint without even providing a service of similar value.

  • Xenocles||

    It took you that long? I gave up after Arafat.

  • Bramblyspam||

    This spectacle tempts me to forgive the Nobel folks for awarding the peace prize to Obama.

    Nah. Even if it accidentally ends up serving a useful purpose this year, the peace prize is still a joke.

  • Bramblyspam||

    This spectacle tempts me to forgive the Nobel folks for awarding the peace prize to Obama.

    Nah. Even if it accidentally ends up serving a useful purpose this year, the peace prize is still a joke.

  • Mex||

    The Prize is useful when it isn't stupid.

  • GILMORE||

    I thought the Peace Prize is for things *you might do*... not actually doing like, actual peace stuff.

    I mean... you know. Like Arafat & Obama?

  • ||

    Yeah, what is this guy going to do in the future? He's stuck in prison, the hack!

  • yep||

    So when is Sean Penn and/or Oliver Stone going to make a documentary about this guy?

  • Rhywun||

    When pigs fly thru frozen hell?

  • After Hitler....||

    Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Chavez and other lefty political hero-philosophers.

  • Rhywun||

    Oh man, Sean Penn as Mao would be *awesome*. Hell, all of them. Nobody does "cringe-inducing stereotype" better.

  • LarryA||

    In the days that followed the announcement of the prize, Liu Xia [his wife] managed to circulate a letter expressing her desire to see Liu's friends and supporters attend the ceremony in Oslo; her letter included a list of more than a hundred names:

    I’m sure glad I wasn’t on her list.

  • rhea||

    Maybe the Nobel committee should stay out of politics, it's all subjective anyway. Sciences, Economics, sure, but politics, I don't know. I lost faith in it when they awarded Obama the award even though he's only been in office like a few weeks? http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs/

  • MNG||

    It was silly to give the prize to Obama, but not as silly as some of you make out. The idea was clearly to act as a rebuke to Bush policies of belligerence and a inducement to the new administration to live up to their rhetoric of change in that area.

  • ||

    MNG, we're well aware of why he got the award. That doesn't temper the silliness at all, indeed it exacerbates it.

  • PEACE THRU TARGET DRONES||

    OBAMA'S DRONES.

  • Do we have to...||

    keep reminding you what the problem is? Are you now lobbying for revocation of the Prize?

    "inducement to the new administration to live up to their rhetoric of change in that area."

    Talk about a load of crap!

  • BenDU99||

    You mean those same Bush policies he has continued 100%?

  • MNG||

    It's great how the MFN thing made China an open, liberal democracy like it was promised to do!

  • ||

    Passive voice strawman FTL. Who promised that?

    And if we had refused to trade with China they'd probably be a bigger, badder version of NK at this point.

  • Rhywun||

    And they accuse *us* of holding the practical hostage to dogma....

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