Tuesday, October 12, 2010

China and the Nobel Peace Prize

This week Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Chinese government, not surprisingly, responded like a petulant child, throwing a tantrum.

Perhaps it was a dumb decision by the Nobel committee - after all, last year, they proved that they do in fact make some pretty stupid, clearly political selections. But not in this case.

China is claiming that Liu is a convicted criminal and thus the prize is a politically motivated sham. This is rich, considering that Liu's crime is purely political (and technically not even illegal, as if that matters in modern China). If Liu were a terrorist or otherwise guilty of violence or other true crimes with victims, this argument might carry some weight, but he won the prize for precisely the fact that he was advocating for human rights in a peaceful way, and the Chinese government, by convicting and jailing him, has clearly demonstrated that why he deserved the prize.

China is now taking out its nationalistic anger on Norway, this politicizing the prize in retribution for it being...politicized. That's irony, especially since the peace prize is by its very nature fundamentally political. The Chinese regime is also claiming that the prize is proof that the world does not want to see a rising China, and in doing so is displaying exactly the sort of belligerent, petty, insecure, and immature China that we in the rest of the world do not in fact wish to see. I can't quite decide if this is more irony, or if it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Chinese government tolerates no criticism from within its borders, but it obviously does not tolerate it from outside either. This is not how civilized countries behave. China demands to be treated with respect on the world stage, yet throwing a temper tantrum like a child because others in the world express disapproval of their policies shows that China has not yet earned the respect it seeks.

My advice to the Chinese government: Get over it and grow up, you damned crybabies. Maybe if you didn't mistreat your own people and walk all over your own constitution (which guarantees freedom of expression) and jail people for speaking their minds, then the Nobel committee wouldn't feel it necessary to reward your victims.

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