Monday, October 11, 2010

It takes a criminal

To run a United States China policy like that which has prevailed - ever since Tiananmen Square, 21 years ago - it takes a criminal.

American politicos who read this post will immediately think of Hillary Clinton, because some years ago she published a book titled, "It takes a village."

Well, that's no excuse for U.S.-China policy. That operation has been run, not by a village, but by criminals such as George H. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.

I am not the only one who feels similar sentiments about U.S.-China policy.

On Friday, October 8, 2010, Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize and now the world has learned the story that Liu is still in jail, now being a political prisoner for the third time since the Tiananmen crackdown began.

At the moment, Liu Xiaobo may be experiencing so much world attention that he is "China's most famous dissident."

But, the long time holder of the title, "China's most famous dissident" is Wei Jingsheng, someone who fills a role for China analogous to Lech Walesa of Poland, who ran the Solidarity movement against the Communist government (back when Poland had a Communist government; Walesa and the freedom fighters won).

Wei referred to Hillary Clinton last week, in a TV broadcast that was beamed into China by Voice of America. Let's look carefully at Wei's words:

Currently, because of China's economic development, international society is hot on China's economic growth, and therefore grants political concessions to the Chinese authorities. Human rights gradually evolved into a political deal. Nowadays, both the West and China are too lazy even to do a deal. Little has improved on human rights in China, with more and more international concessions. Human rights are put aside. Even the newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State equivocated with "human rights are not our main topic" during her visit to China. Reduced pressure from the international community has made it more difficult for the Chinese people to realize their hope for democracy.

Wei used carefully-chosen words. He referred to "the newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State," and "her visit to China." It was 2009 when Hillary Clinton was new in that job, and when she made her first visit to China and made her remark, downplaying human rights. That remark infuriated the human rights community, and led to my call from here for Hillary Clinton to resign.

Last week, in response to news of the Nobel Peace Prize going to Liu Xiaobo, I was highly critical of the U.S. news media, saying:

As they jumped on a bandwagon called free trade--which gutted the U.S. economy--they decided that human rights issues inconvenienced free trade. They have now delivered 10 years of one-sided news; they've been largely silent about human rights abuses in China.

Wei and I were really going to the same topic in the same week. He criticized Clinton; I criticized the media. But the bottom line in both cases is really the same. It was well stated by Wei Jingsheng:

Reduced pressure from the international community has made it more difficult for the Chinese people to realize their hope for democracy.

In sum, the bought-off leadership of the West is making it harder for us to do our job. By now, mine is a long standing call, which I can repeat at any time:

Hillary Clinton, resign!


Friday, October 08, 2010

Barack Obama's statement on Liu Xiaobo

I welcome the Nobel Committee's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Liu Xiaobo. Last year, I noted that so many others who have received the award had sacrificed so much more than I. That list now includes Mr. Liu, who has sacrificed his freedom for his beliefs. By granting the prize to Mr. Liu, the Nobel Committee has chosen someone who has been an eloquent and courageous spokesman for the advance of universal values through peaceful and non-violent means, including his support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

As I said last year in Oslo, even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal to all human beings. Over the last 30 years, China has made dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. But this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected. We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.

- per, Oct. 8, 2010

Dalai Lama statement about Liu Xiaobo

I would like to offer my heart-felt congratulations to Mr. Liu Xiaobo for being awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Awarding the Peace Prize to him is the international community’s recognition of the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms.

I have been personally moved as well as encouraged by the efforts of hundreds of Chinese intellectuals and concerned citizens, including Mr. Liu Xiaobo in signing the Charter 08, which calls for democracy and freedom in China. I expressed my admiration in a public statement on 12 December 2008, two days after it was released and while I was on a visit to Poland. I believe in the years ahead, future generations of Chinese will be able to enjoy the fruits of the efforts that the current Chinese citizens are making towards responsible governance.

I believe that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent comments on freedom of speech being indispensable for any country and people’s wish for democracy and freedom being irresistible are a reflection of the growing yearning for a more open China. Such reforms can only lead to a harmonious, stable and prosperous China, which can contribute greatly to a more peaceful world.

I would like to take this opportunity to renew my call to the government of China to release Mr. Liu Xiaobo and other prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression.

October 8, 2010

2010 Nobel Peace Prize citation

As relayed by the Associated Press, here is the full text of the citation awarding the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo.


The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the "fraternity between nations" of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.

Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal. The country now has the world's second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Scope for political participation has also broadened.

China's new status must entail increased responsibility. China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights. Article 35 of China's constitution lays down that "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration". In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China's citizens.

For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China. He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights for "inciting subversion of state power". Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China's own constitution and fundamental human rights.

The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.