Liu Xiaobo

Though somewhat far afield from the focus of my blog, I suppose this morning’s announcement of Liu Xiaobo’s receipt of Nobel Peace Prize cannot go without at least brief comment.  This is going to incur the typical tsunami of blog and news posting, particularly in Chinese. At the moment, though, and just for example, it is nary a blip on the mainpage of the China Daily (under 即时快讯). For a more sustained “analysis,” one turns to English and other foreign language press.  A representative example would be Forbes.com blogger Gady Epstein’s post on the subject.  Mr. Epstein’s comment :

“Many of us around the world, including perhaps even members of the Nobel committee, have shown something akin to tolerance for China’s             authoritarian instincts over the last decade, as the memories of Tiananmen Square faded and the era of the Chinese boom dawned.”

brings to my mind a question, and one no doubt shared by many in China: whence our tolerance for China’s instincts (whatever they may be)? Or what, conversely, of China’s tolerance for our instincts, for instance awarding international prizes to people in Chinese prisons (rightly or wrongly).  I personally can see substance in both arguments, though the latter receives relatively little “play”, so to speak, in the West. One wonders what a high-profile Chinese prize awarded to, for instance, Mumia Abu-Jamal, might result in.  Regardless, the fact that there are Chinese in prison for their political views is not exactly news.  Meanwhile, it may be worth observing that events such as the poetry reading mentioned below, feature writers who were formerly blacklisted and or otherwise censured and who are now literally on a stage erected by, indirectly at least, the Chinese Communist Party.  As news goes, it is news, just not deemed quite newsworthy.

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