Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Applaud Liu Xiabo

China’s bossiness in international politics is clearly on the rise. The western countries congratulating Liu Xiabo, the 2010 Peace Nobel Price winner for non-voilent struggle for fundamental human rights in China, has again pricked China's allergy for criticism. It has also betrayed China's belief that because of its new-found economic muscle, it can browbeat any nation into toeing its line.

Support for Liu has mainly come in form of countries demanding his release from prison. China has dismissed the international community's reactions calling them an attempt to subvert China's sovereignty. But  it would be interesting to see how the Chinese government handles the support for Liu growing within China.

China tried to arm-twist Norway to prevent it from awarding Liu, but failed. Severing of ties with Norway followed. Now through its angry outbursts directed at the western countries (including the US) that are applauding Liu, China is threatening them with the same consequence: severance of ties. Is this the behavior of a rising super power?

India along with the other BRIC (Brazil and Russia) countries isn’t risking China’s wrath, though. Apart from the BRIC nations, the Arab countries and some countries in Africa have also followed the wisdom that silence is golden. India, having strained its relations with the Myanmar government for celebrating Aung San Suikyi being awarded with the Peace Nobel Prize in 1991, is reluctant to risk straining its already strained relations with China However, the countries have said their colonial experience has taught them not to interfere with others’ internal matters.  

It's understandable that offending China may hurt economic interests, but shouldn't a country also  stand for certain ideals? If countries refuse to rise above their day-to-day interests in response to higher human concerns,  the world will become a difficult place. Imagine if the world had remained cold to the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. International opinion did a play role, if not the most important, in helping former colonies get their independence.

Through solidarity with the democratic movements and voices inside China, the international community can at least alter, if not reverse, China’s attitude towards fundamental rights of its citizens. Even embarrassment might have a slow effect on the Chinese government. By applauding Liu, the western countries have played a constructive role. And by playing mute spectators, their Asian counterparts have allowed themselves to be bullied by Beijing.


Anonymous said...

The Nobel peace prize is becoming an increasingly political tool now these days in the hands of the western countries. Though I applaud that Chinese dissident for getting the nobel, I feel the peace prize has shades of political over tones. Last years prize to Obama and this years prize to a Chinese dissident some how have taken on a political note. There are many countries in the world which allow / permit human right violations and there are many activists who are fighting against them. But they seem to have been ignored. China has been under a communist dictatorship for a very long time (since world war 2) and the matter is quite old. I was surprised at the dissident for getting the prize at this time as China is becoming a big power now and so the focus…Probably this Chinese freedom fighter should have got the prize earlier as he has been jailed for a very long time.


indrablog said...

Hi Mark,
Thanks for your thoughtful views. I think there is a pattern but don't find any economic reason for why this should happen. And the US crticizing China only affects their economic interests. But again, what you are ssaying does ring true if one looks at who and which countries have been getting this prize.

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