Three Gorges Probe

China’s 1.3 Billion Nobel Peace Prize Winners

(December 10, 2010) Though it was Mr. Liu who was honoured today in Oslo, he is a symbol of millions of his fellow citizens who everyday work to defend their rights and the rights of all Chinese citizens, writes Patricia Adams, Executive Director of Probe International.

China’s first Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo spent today, the day of the award ceremony, in a Chinese jail—just as he has for the past two years and is sentenced to for the next 10.  His wife, Liu Xia, remains under house arrest, while their many friends and compatriots have had to endure jail, detention and constant police companions since the Nobel Committee announced Mr. Liu’s award, lest they try to celebrate the day. At the award ceremony today in Oslo, Liu Xiaobo was honoured in absentia by an empty chair.

Though the Chinese government can control the whereabouts of Liu Xiaobo and his family and his friends, the authorities cannot control their minds and their spirit. And today, their spirits must be soaring, knowing that the world stands behind them as they work for China’s peaceful transition from a one-party dictatorship to a country ruled by law.

In Mr. Liu’s own words, read at the ceremony by famed actress Liv Ullmann, “I have no enemies and no hatred….Hatred can rot away at a person’s intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy. That is why I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation’s development and social change, to counter the regime’s hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispel hatred with love.”

“It is precisely because of such convictions and personal experience that I firmly believe that China’s political progress will not stop, and I, filled with optimism, look forward to the advent of a future free China. For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom, and China will in the end become a nation ruled by law, where human rights reign supreme.”

The Nobel Committee, with its prescient award, sharpened the focus of countries dazzled by China’s “rise,” but troubled by its method. China insulted the Nobel Committee by calling them “clowns” and attempted to bully sovereign nations into abandoning their moral compasses by boycotting the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. China demanded that governments around the world choose between the jailed and the jailer and, with the exception of a few of China’s client states, the world chose the jailed.

And though it was Mr. Liu who was honoured today in Oslo, he is a symbol of millions of his fellow citizens who everyday, in big ways and small, scholarly and practical, work to defend their rights and the rights of all Chinese citizens.

China’s brave lawyers fan out across the country to defend the victims of China’s corrupt judicial system, Three Gorges migrants whose compensation was stolen by corrupt officials fight for justice, while the victims of tainted milk, AIDS-infected blood, and “tofu” schools that collapsed in the 2008 earthquake demand that those responsible be held to account. And public protests for justice in the face of government abuses continue to rise, reaching 100,000 last year.

It is these countless struggles for justice across China, fuelled by a universal sense of civil rights and human dignity that will propel the unstoppable political progress about which Mr. Liu remains optimistic. Armed with nothing but ideas embodied in democracy manifestos such as Charter 08, which Mr. Liu helped pen, and the Internet to facilitate the exchange of those ideas, China’s people will prevail: China will be free and China will be a nation ruled by law.

In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize this year to Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Committee chose the worthiest of recipients, and in so doing, rallied the world to defend Mr. Liu’s fellow citizens too. This is their day, and the world honours them all.

Patricia Adams, Probe International, December 10, 2010

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