The Norwegian Nobel Committee is set to award the Nobel Peace Prize this Friday to author and 1989 Tiananmen protest participant Liu Xiaobo. But Liu will not attend. He is currently serving an 11-year sentence for co-authoring the Charter 08 manifesto calling for protection of human rights, comprehensive political reforms, and a democratic government in China.
In the past, the Nobel Committee has presented the prize to family members of the award winner. But that is not possible this year. Liu’s wife and dozens of friends and colleagues have all been placed under house arrest by Chinese security forces to prevent them from attending the ceremony. That means this will be the first time that the prize ceremony will lack a presentation since 1935, when Nazi Germany barred pacifist Carl von Ossietzky from attending.
China’s communist dictatorship has not limited its campaign against Liu to the nation’s borders. They have orchestrated a global campaign against the ceremony, threatening economic and political retaliation against nations that attend the ceremony. Those that either share China’s authoritarian beliefs or have succumbed to economic pressure include Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, the Philippines Egypt, Sudan, and Cuba. And like the Soviets and Nazis, they have hastily established their own rival award –the “Confucius Peace Prize.”
The Obama Administration should not reward these tactics. Next month General Secretary of the Communist Party Hu Jintao is coming to the United States, and a full “state visit” treatment is expected, including a joint reviewing of U.S. troops and the usual ceremonial pomp and diplomatic protocol.
Nothing wrong with a working visit to DC, but the Obama Administration needs to rethink granting Hu the accompanying accord normally given to our nation’s most respected partners.
China does not merit a state visit not only due to its continued poor record on human rights (as demonstrated by its global campaign against Liu) but because of its continued extraterritorial claims and the lack of responsible action as a stakeholder on such security issues as North Korea and Iran. State visits are not a regular occurrence.
On the merits, it is an honor much more appropriate for steadfast treaty allies of the United States, like Korea and Japan. Our relationship with China today is at a low point. We do not seem to share any interests at all on political security issues, and on many issues, like North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, they ware actively working against us. A state visit is nonsensical, and counterproductive, in the current context.
Some in the American press believe that recent comments by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will lead to changes in its political model. They are wrong. Heritage Foundation Research Fellow Dean Cheng reports: “In reality, the current Chinese political structure is not interested in democratization; it is increasingly concerned with domestic stability. This, in turn, is threatened by rising income inequality, growing regional disparities, and official corruption.”
The most murderous regime of the 20th century was not Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s Russia. It was Mao Zedong’s communist China. An estimated 65 million Chinese died as a result of Mao’s socialism. To honor these victims, the victims of Mao’s heirs, and Liu’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation will be holding a rally tomorrow at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, D.C. The foundation urges: “We must come together to urge the Administration to send a clear message to the Chinese government that its actions are counterproductive and inconsistent with fostering harmony and stability in China and within the world community.”
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