Dumb Arguments About Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize has given rise to a lot of discussion. The Global Times, for one, has been running vicious op-eds slamming Liu and the Nobel Peace Prize daily since the award was announced. Some of the discussion happening outside official media, in contrast, has been interesting and productive, but there are two specific arguments against Liu Xiaobo that I’d like to address here.

Dumb Argument #1

The first appears as oft-cited evidence that Liu Xiaobo is a traitor to China. Commenters generally post this quotation from an interview Liu Xiaobo gave:

“(It would take) 300 years of colonialism. In 100 years of colonialism, Hong Kong has changed to what we see today. With China being so big, of course it would take 300 years of colonialism for it to be able to transform into how Hong Kong is today. I have my doubts as to whether 300 years would be enough.”

Indeed, the quote is pretty shocking. But what these commenters generally fail to mention is that (1) the quotation is from 1988 and that (2) Liu has since suggested that at the time (he was giving an interview to a Hong Kong publication) he was just talking and hadn’t fully thought his response though.

One could argue all day about whether Liu actually meant this, whether he still believes it, and whether that makes him a traitor, but the fact is that he hasn’t said anything like that since 1988, which is why his detractors go back so far to dig something up against him. As James Fallows puts it:

“It’s in no way representative of Liu’s general position, which is that of a Chinese nationalist working to bring universal values to his own country.”

Liu is a professional writer with a large body of work; if he were truly a traitor who wanted China to be subjugated to foreign powers, presumably it would be easy to find evidence of that in his writing, but I have yet to see a single argument against Liu online or in the Chinese media that quoted even a single line from anything he has written.

Dumb Argument #2

The second argument suggests that Liu deserved his eleven year sentence and/or is a traitor to China for accepting money from foreign organizations, with a side helping of “Americans are hypocrites because that’s illegal in America, too.” Here I am quoting commenter Charles Liu on this post:

Liu Xiaobo has received hundreds of thousands of US government funding via the NED in the past five years to conduct domestic political activity in China (including advocating abolition of China’s constitution.) Check NED’s China grants for Independent Chinese Pen Center and Minzhu Zhongguo magazine, which Liu heads.

If Liu were American he would be in violation of FARA (Foreign Agent Registration Act). Ron Paul had once commented “What the NED does in foreign countries… would be rightly illegal in the United States”.

As you might expect, this is a clever mix of truth, lies, and intentionally misleading suggestions. In actuality, if Liu were in the US, he would be perfectly fine, assuming he did register and keep records of who gave him money, as is required by the FARA. Moreover, there’s no reason to think Liu would have been sentenced to a day of jail time even if he did refuse to register in the US. In fact, not a single person has been convicted in a criminal case under FARA since 1966.

Moreover, the whole thing is a false analogy, as Liu was convicted of “attempting to incite subversion of state power” based on the contents of Charter 08, not because he had accepted money from foreign governments and thus violated some law similar to FARA. Quoting from the official verdict read at the end of Liu’s trial, he was convicted because he “published inciting articles”, and because he “drafted and concocted Charter 08″ and then posted it on overseas websites.

Specifically, he was convicted of violating article 105 section two of the PRC criminal code, which reads:

“Whoever incites others by spreading rumors or slanders or any other means to subvert the State power or overthrow the socialist system shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights; and the ringleaders and the others who commit major crimes shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years. “

In fact, accepting money from foreign organizations can, in some cases, be illegal in China, as evidenced by Articles 106 and 107 of the Criminal Code:

Article 106: Whoever commits the crime as prescribed in Article 103, 104 or 105 of this Chapter in collusion with any organ, organization or individual outside the territory of China shall be given a heavier punishment according to the provisions stipulated in these Articles respectively.

Article 107: Where an organ, organization or individual inside or outside of the territory of China provides funds to any organization or individual within the territory of China to commit the crime as prescribed in Article 102, 103, 104 or 105, the person who is directly responsible for the crime shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights; if the circumstances are serious, he shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years.

But neither of these laws were even mentioned in Liu’s verdict. From the verdict: “The procuratorate found that Liu Xiaobo’s actions have violated the stipulations of Article 105 (2) of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China…” No other article is mentioned.

So, in short, Liu’s crime and sentencing in China are in no way comparable to FARA and, in the words of those who convicted and sentenced him, he was not imprisoned for accepting money from foreign organizations like NED.

“Universal Values” and “Western Imperialism”

“Trying to impose western so-called ‘universal’ values on China” is a charge that has been leveled at Liu Xiaobo, the Norwegian Nobel committee, and a whole lot of other people. It is of only tangential relevance here, but we’ll quickly address it anyway. Since detractors rarely, if ever, cite specifics from Liu’s body of work, it’s difficult to know which “Western values” he is supposedly trying to force on China.

In terms of Charter 08, though, as a recent joke being passed around the Chinese internet points out, most if not all of the ideas in the charter are evident, and often more strongly worded, in speeches and writings of revered CCP leaders like Zhou Enlai:

Hu Jintao: Has Liu Xiaobo confessed yet?

Prosecutors: He’s confessed everything and we’ve corroborated his statements.

Hu Jintao: So [in Charter ‘08] where does he get the phrase “federated republic?”

Prosecutors: This comes from the report of the second congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The original wording was, “establish a free federated republic.” Only, the word “free” is not in the Charter.

Hu Jintao: Then… then, what about the military being made answerable to the national government and not to a political party?

Prosecutors: We’ve looked into it! This comes from The Selected Works of Zhou Enlai. The original wording was, “We must make the military answerable to the national government.” Only, the word “must” is not in the Charter.

Hu Jintao: Then… then … then, where does all that stuff praising Western style democracy come from?

Prosecutors: The Xinhua Daily ran an editorial that read, “America represents a democratic society.” Only, the Charter doesn’t say “America represents.”

Hu Jintao: Then… then… then, what about an end to one party rule?

Prosecutors: This is a slogan from great grandfather Mao when he opposed the Guomindang [the Nationalists]! The original wording of the slogan was, “Topple the one party dictatorship!” [When the Nationalists were vying for power with the Communists, Mao strongly advocated a multi-party government. Failure to create a multi-party state led to civil war.]

Hu Jintao: Then… then… then… then, what about freedom of association, freedom of speech, and a free press?

Prosecutors: These are all part of the Constitution!

Moreover, it’s worth noting that “human rights” is not in and of itself a Western concept. In fact, one of the principal drafters of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights was P.C. Chang, a Chinese citizen who was a dedicated Confucian, a lover of traditional poetry, and a member of the anti-Japanese resistance during World War II. Chinese people in Hong Kong and Taiwan, among other places, have adopted so-called “Western” values like freedom of the press and democracy, yet they are still recognized as Chinese.

Yes, of course, some of these ideas have their origins in the West, but there’s plenty of precedent for a belief in fundamental freedoms and human rights in China’s native traditions, too (this will be the subject of a future post at some point). In any event, the idea that Liu’s advocating things like democracy and freedom of the press is somehow fundamentally “not Chinese” is ridiculous.


There are, certainly, arguments to be made in favor of not giving the prize to Liu Xiaobo. Others may have deserved the award more (I don’t personally think so, but I don’t know a lot about many of the other candidates, either). Arguments that Liu Xiaobo is a traitor to China or that he deserved his eleven year sentence, on the other hand, seem to be few and far between.

I am, as ever, open to other interpretations, but our discussions on this in the past have gone off the rails, so the rules here are going to be a bit stricter. If you’re going to make an argument in the comments (one way or the other) you need to support it with actual evidence, and you need to do it without attacking other commenters personally. NO EXCEPTIONS.

0 thoughts on “Dumb Arguments About Liu Xiaobo”

  1. Some Guy’s problem is that he refuses to believe Liu really wants China to be colonized. Well, he does. I have come to that conclusion by having read a lot of his articles and essays written over the years. Some Guy obviously hasn’t. I have to ask him: You did learn in school to base your opinion on evidence, no?

    And this is also Custer’s problem. Without having read Liu’s essays, Custer just assumed. And the essays do exist on Tianya. The fact that he is unwilling to actually do research says a lot.

    And in case Some Guy is here trying to be condescending again: I live in America, Florida to be exact, much more multi-cultural than you could imagine in your little town where a Muslim getting elected an official is reason for you to flaunt. Pathetic. Come to Florida and pick up some Hebrew and Spanish, it’ll do you good. The world is larger than you think and not all ethnic Chinese who don’t want to be colonized live in China (this is what’s most disturbing about Some Guy’s initial post). Surely you’ve seen Chinese people in Canada?


  2. C. Custer: “Among the dozens of editorials condemning Liu and the Prize, I challenge you to find even one that goes into details about what he actually did or what the ‘treasonous’ charter says.”

    1) You must keep in mind, Charles, that the CCP has endeavored for decades to conflate ideas of nation and Party (CCP) in the minds of the Chinese public. As such, patriotism and support of the CCP are, in many respects, co-terminous. Take, for example, a visit to Hong Kong by Jiang Zemin in the early 2000s. After being questioned aggressively by members of the local press, Jiang, who was not accustomed to live press conferences, lost his cool and lashed out, saying, “You people need to be more patriotic!” Of course, Jiang wasn’t really questioning the journalists’ love of country; rather, he was angry about their apparent lack of love for the Party (CCP). Similarly, during a different visit to HK, a second member of the Central Standing Committee of the Politbureau reacted angrily to questions regarding the democratization of HK’s political system by saying, “Hong Kong will never have democracy until it becomes more patriotic.” Here too, the word 爱国 (“love of country”) was used when what was meant was 爱党 (“love of the Party”).

    In the minds of many/most Chinese, no distinction is made between criticism of the Party and criticism of China. In other words, as lead signatory of a document that criticizes the Party, Liu is guilty of treason. Americans and citizens of other Western democracies may point to the legal primacy of their nations’ constitutions. In China, however, nothing trumps the will of the Party. Not even the law. One could view Charter 08 and the recent letter signed by several “Party elders” as part of a much larger debate in China concerning rule of law and the limited exercise of power. This is a debate that began in the West in the early 13th century with the drafting of the Magna Carta (one of the most important constitutional documents in all of human history–ever wonder where our ideas about Habeas Corpus and the Bill of Rights come from?). Seven hundred years later, and the Chinese are just beginning to have this debate. King John and the CCP have more in common than you may think.

    2) Such campaigns to disparage enemies of the Party are hardly new. The fact that Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel committee are being openly attacked in the Chinese media while the specifics of Charter 08 go unmentioned is about par for the course in the P.R.C. In 1974, the People’s Daily ran daily editorials for months on end attacking Italian director Michelagelo Antonio and his documentary “Chung Kuo.” The February 22, 1974 issue of Peking Review (an English language magazine formerly published on the Mainland) had this to say about Antonioni and his film:

    “The film ‘China’ [Chung Kuo] by the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni is an out-and-out anti-China film. Its appearance is a serious anti-China event and a wild provocation against the Chinese people. All Chinese who have national pride are greatly infuriated to see that this anti-China film attacks Chinese leaders, smears socialist New China, slanders China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and insults the Chinese people.”

    Ring any bells, Charles? Like the current fracas over Liu Xiaobo and Charter 08, the great irony of the anti-Antonioni campaign was that most Chinese never had a chance to view the film and decide for themselves if it was anti-China. While Antonioni’s film was condemned by official China for having “smeared” New China, the Nobel committee’s decision to award the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo is now said to have “smeared” Reform and Opening China. Nothing’s changed but a few of the modifiers. The Party’s penchant for obscurantism (愚民政策 – literally, “a policy to keep the people stupid/ignorant”) is as strong as its ever been. After all, why fix something if it’s not broken? The more things change… Sad, sad, sad.

    You can read more about Antonioni and “Chung Kuo” at ESWN. Here is the link:


    For those who are interested, here is the text of the first and most important editorial attacking Antonioni from the Jan. 30, 1974 issue of People’s Daily:

    恶毒的用心 卑劣的手法





  3. @keisaat

    Where in his writings does it explicitly say he wants China to be colonized? I believe what Liu wants is a China that is modeled entirely on the West, and his 300 years of colonization quote is really more to illustrate “that’s what it would take” rather than “that’s what we should do”. And being Chinese-Canadian, I can tell you there are extremist Muslims here who believe Islam should dominate Canada. The CBC even did an interview with one. Of course even the most liberal Canuck disagrees with them, but the difference is they were not jailed. If they were, it’d be human rights this and free speech that all over the place. That’s the problem with Beijing’s decision is that they turned Liu into a martyr by putting him in prison. The correct response should have been to leave him and downplay the whole thing, Nobel prize included.


  4. Me: “Pug_ster might as well be suggesting that the constitution is itself a subversive document and that the Chinese government need not obey its own laws.”

    Pug_ster: “I did not ‘suggest’ this. So stop making straw man’s arguments.”

    Yes, Pug_ster, you did. You have asserted that Charter 08 is subversive, even treasonous. As much of Charter 08 is taken directly from the China’s own constitution, it logically follows that the constitution is then also subversive. Similarly, if public dissemination of Charter 08 is to be considered a crime, then shouldn’t sales of China’s consitution also be considered a crime?

    Pug_ster: “What the freak is 1984 have to do with this? What sort of ‘cognitive dissonance’ do I have?”

    Interesting diction, Pug_ster. Cognitive dissonance is when a person attempts to believe two or more mutually conflicting ideas simultaneously (e.g., “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”) In most people, such contradictions lead to mental discomfort of the sort that compels them to find ways to reduce dissonance (usually by changing their thinking). Some people, however, are apparently immune to the discomfort produced by cognitive dissonance (you?).

    You simultaneously assert that the Nobel committee is both concerned with all that “freedom of speech crap” in China’s constitution AND unconcerned with Chinese law. THAT is a big, fat example of cognitive dissonance, Pug_ster. If the constitution is the foundation of the Chinese legal system, and the Nobel committee is as concerned with the constitution as you seem to believe, then how can it be that the committee is also unconcerned with Chinese law? It just doesn’t make sense. If the Nobel committee is concerned with the Chinese governmnent’s apparent failures to uphold the values expressed in China’s constitution, then they must also be concerned with upholding Chinese law. You can’t have one without the other.

    Essentially, Pug_ster, you find no value in China’s constitution. You are a Party man. When you dismiss as “crap” all talk of constitutional protections, you reveal yourself as someone who has clearly aligned himself with those in power who reject the idea that there should be limits to their power. Without a meaningful constitution there can be no strong system of laws. Likewise, without a meaningful system of laws, the Chinese people will always be at the mercy of their government. Serve the People? What a sorry joke. Fuck the People is more like it.


  5. In all my years living in Hong Kong, I have yet to meet a single person who feels that Hong Kong is not part of China. However, I have yet to meet a single person who is not glad that Hong Kong was a British colony at a time when the rest of China was a complete mess. (Most continue to believe that the mainland is still a mess.) Hong Kongers are quite a bit less dismissive of colonialism because the alternative to colonialism for Hong Kong would have been CCP rule, poverty, famine, and isolation. There are many Chinese patriots here in HK, but most are far less impressed with the Party than their mainland compatriots. No one here is eager to be governed directly by Beijing.

    I lived for years in Beijing. During that time, many people expressed views about colonialism very similar to those expressed by Liu Xiaobo. More importantly, most mainland Chinese that I’ve spoken to are quick to concede that Hong Kong would not be what it is today if not for British colonialism. If Liu is a traitor, so are tens of millions of other mainland Chinese.


  6. @ keisaat: Who’s assuming? I’ve read plenty of Liu’s works, just not any of the essays you’re referring to. I didn’t go look them up because “Tianya” is a ridiculously broad forum to try to sift through and you gave me nothing — no titles, no dates, no links. It may shock you to learn that I have a job and life outside of this blog, and am not interested in spending hours wading through mindless bullshit on Tianya in the hopes that I may come across some mythical essay that proves Liu Xiaobo wants China to be colonized.

    Based on the evidence I’ve seen, there’s little indication Liu wants China to be colonized. If there’s evidence out there that contradicts that, I’d surely consider it, but I’m not going to waste time looking for it, just like I wouldn’t if you told me that unicorns were real and that you had definitely seen one once somewhere in the southern hemisphere.

    At least give me something solid to go on (like, the title of an essay or where it was published IRL) rather than just indicating that there “are essays” somewhere on one of the worlds biggest bbs forums.

    Addendum: regarding the “disparaging Chinese people” as a way to make a point impact more forcefully in the public discourse, yeah, I think exaggeration can be an OK rhetorical tactic (exaggeration of one’s own opinions, mind you, not facts).


  7. YWX,

    Yes, Pug_ster, you did. You have asserted that Charter 08 is subversive, even treasonous. As much of Charter 08 is taken directly from the China’s own constitution, it logically follows that the constitution is then also subversive. Similarly, if public dissemination of Charter 08 is to be considered a crime, then shouldn’t sales of China’s consitution also be considered a crime?

    You are making straw man’s comments about me. I said that Constitution (and C Custer agreed) is never absolute as in the yelling fire in the theater example. That’s why there’s laws which amends to the constitution and it is normal where laws which challenge the constitution. Liu Xiaobo’s rant in the Charter 08 rant is that he totally ignored China’s laws. Read what I wrote about before making false arguments.

    As for your arguments, you should stuck about talking more about the topic and less about me because you don’t know much about what I or most other Chinese people think.


  8. Pug_ster: “You should stuck about talking more about the topic and less about me because you don’t know much about what I or most other Chinese people think.”

    1) The title of this post is “Dumb Arguments About Liu Xiaobo.” As I see it, Pug_ster, since you’re the one making all the dumb arguments, this post is really about you.

    2) Don’t let my superior English fool you, Pug_ster, I’m as Chinese as you are. If I can’t claim to speak for most Chinese, then neither can you. At least I hope you can’t. Indeed, if most Chinese share your worldview, we’re all in big, big trouble.

    Pug_ster: “You are making straw man’s comments about me.”

    3) Unlike you, I’ve actually read Charter 08 in its entirety. In addition, I’ve also read the relevant parts of China’s constitution. As I’ve said before, if Charter 08 is a subversive document, then various clauses of the constitution must also be considered subversive. No straw men, Pug_ster. I’ve read your comments. You can’t fart and then expect people not to say that you stink. Take responsibility for what you wrote.

    4) Contrary to your earlier assertion, Liu Xiaobo, et al. were very specific regarding their demands. In any case, Charter 08 was never meant to be a founding document of any sort; rather, it was meant to foster discussion concerning future political reform. It’s troubling, Pug_ster, that after several weeks, you have yet to read Charter 08 in its entirety. I honestly don’t understand how you or anyone else can take your opinions seriously when you remain so fundamentally ignorant of the basic facts surrounding the issue. It seems that NOT reading Charter 08 has become a matter of pride for you. That’s sad.

    5) In the end, Charter 08 is a very modest document. Compare it to speeches and essays written by China’s early 20th century revolutionaries and Charter 08 looks downright timid. The CCP erred badly here. Handing Liu an 11-year sentence for essentially being the first to sign such a cautious document was a mistake that will haunt Beijing for years to come. So too, threatening the Nobel committee was astonishingly ham-fisted. Say what you will about Liu Xiaobo’s feeble contributions to furthering world peace, he is now a very powerful symbol. One need only to read recent editorials denouncing the Nobel committee in the Global Times (Chinese edition) and China Youth Daily to understand just how much this has stung the Party. For those of us who care about free speech in China, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be the gift that keeps on giving.


  9. YWX,

    I take responsibility for what I wrote and I don’t take responsibility for what I didn’t write. And since you make alot of false assumptions of what you think I wrote, I am not going to comment on them.


  10. YWX–“The title of this post is “Dumb Arguments About Liu Xiaobo.” As I see it, Pug_ster, since you’re the one making all the dumb arguments, this post is really about you.”

    My sentiments exactly. How I wish that stupidity was a banishable offense here at China Geeks. Where’s Gan Lu when you need him? Loved the beat down that he’s been giving Pug_ster recently.


  11. Comments from Gan Lu, YWX and vleung is probably what you get on the other spectrum. Others like Fallows have a less disparaging remark like saying these dumb arguments are “exaggerated and distorted.” People who cares less about listening to people with ‘unpopular ideas’ rather than having frank discussion. Instead these people chose to shout down the people who are introducing these ‘unpopular ideas.’ Other people like vleung thinks that it is good idea to banish people who introduce these ‘unpopular ideas.’ Isn’t that some kind of censorship? Personally I view these guys no better than those CCP nuts wants censorship. That’s what I find it sad.


  12. Pug_ster: “Comments from Gan Lu, YWX and vleung…[p]eople who cares less about listening to people with ‘unpopular ideas’ rather than having frank discussion.”

    Again, Pug_ster, the topic of this post is “Dumb Arguments About Liu Xiaobo.” In other words, it’s about the arguments that people like you make when discussing the subject of Liu Xiaobo and his Peace Prize. In the court of public opinion (at least insofar as China Geeks is able to represent public opinion), your ideas are considered dumb–i.e., less worthy of serious consideration than other, smarter ideas. This isn’t about having a “frank discussion” with an open-minded person who has something interesting and informed to say. On the contrary, such discourse is impossible to have with someone such as you. You are closed-minded and defiantly ignorant, Pug_ster. Gan Lu was banished for calling YOU a “f*cking idiot” and expressing the hope that you have no children. Had he limited his comments to attacking your IDEAS as “f*cking idiotic,” Charles likely would have allowed him to stay. You see, Pug_ster, ideas, like hats, come in many shapes, colors, and sizes. Some are attractive and keep you warm in the winter, and some are ugly and threadbare. Like the ugly, threadbare hat, your ideas get little respect because they are worthless and repulsive. In fact, the more you write in defense of your ideas, the easier it is to view you, and not just your ideas, as dumb.

    Perhaps you should just give it a rest, Pug_ster. You’ll find little love for your brand of nonsense this far away from Fool’s Mountain.


  13. @Pug_ster: I agree with everything YWX has said to you.

    When the CCP changes its mind and rehabilitates Liu (and maybe even implements political reform!) are you going to pretend you didn’t say any of this and blindly support them then, too?


  14. YWX,

    In fact, the more you write in defense of your ideas, the easier it is to view you, and not just your ideas, as dumb.

    Sorry, troll. From your rant, if you are so personally offended of what I have to say and have to resort to insults (like viewing me as dumb), perhaps you are too emotional for a rational discussion.

    As for some of you who maintains Liu is innocent, I respect your opinion. But from the verdict of him that Joe Posted, I believe that he is guilty of subversion.


    I think there’s a big difference between of what Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaobo are doing. Ai Weiwei is more of a free thinker and broader reflection of the issues in the Chinese society as a whole and criticize why the Chinese government is a part of the problem. While I may not agree with him 100% he does make a point. Liu Xiaobo’s Charter 08 just criticize the Chinese government, period.


  15. Nevermind arguing about Liu’s morals or the merit of his argument. A far more damning criticism I can level at him is his irrelevance.


  16. I oppose the arrest of Liu Xiaobo on principal, that stupidity, real or percieved, should not be silenced, but, rather, combated, and that the Chinese Communist Party are wrong on this point, but Oslo giving him the Nobel Prize is not because of his merit as a ‘political dissident’, rather, it is because they want to take the oppertunity to say ‘Fuck you’ to China, as the award to Obama was just a giant ‘Fuck you’ to Mr Bush and his party- that is is completely motivated by their political leaning and taking an oppertunity to rekindle their hatred and envy of China.

    Argument one-
    So what if he said that in 1988, or if he said that five days ago, he said thus- he openly advocate imperialism, and his actions of the present does not invalidate his action of the past, unless he has openly retracted his statments. Likewise, why do people not quote his work? Because almost no one read them, I will assume not even his fellow intellectuals and those august personages who crown him with laurels, and canonise him with pomp and pagentry.

    Argument two-
    It is thus argued that, because he can do what he wills in America, it is thus that he should be able to do the same in China- but, he isn’t govern by American laws, but by Chinese laws, and it is by Chinese laws that he is sentenced. It is, then, lawful that he is arrested- you may disagree with the morality and ethics of his arrest, but it remains lawful.

    Argument Three-
    That is a completely dogmatic argument on your part based upon your perception of what is and not how things actually are. The Chinese Government is striving for those ideals, as you should certainly know, but, all in all, his advocation was not in the manner of ‘let’s have them through the process’ but ‘let’s destroy the process in order to attain them’. It is akin to saying ‘let’s destroy the American Government so that we can equalate employment and payment and end such descrimination in the work place.’

    Therefore, while I disagree with Mr Liu imprisonment, I also disagree with giving an award based upon dissidence that would, in many other nation, be only slightly more tolerated- think of it as Mr Chomsky being awarded that prestegious award for speaking out against what he percieves to be America’s great Imperalism, Coperatism, and overall evilness. In addition, it serves no other purpose than to say, ‘Hey, China, FUCK YOU!’ just as Mr Obama’s award was to spite Bush and the Conservatives of America. Poor decisions on the part of the Nobel Prize awarders, like this and the previous, serve only to discredit the once Prestigious prize as a political tool to reflect their beliefs and bias.


  17. “Again, I don’t think he should be jailed, but there is a strong point to be made that his thinking is quite anti-Chinese tradition, which has been the intellectual mainstream in China since the early part of the 20th century.”

    A clarification, the intellectual current nowadays is less anti-tradition than before, but anti-tradition remains strong.


  18. To the author of this blog:

    First of all, I do think it is wrong for the Chinese government to jail Liu Xiaobo. However regarding your point on the 300 years of colonial rule, Liu did restate that opinion in this 2006 piece in the same magazine where he did his original interview back in 1988. He indicates that the 300 years of colonial rule represents the “most extreme expression of my unchanged belief till this day.” In this article, he also indicates that the reason for China’s economic success is due to Westernization, and her current political state is also because of her refusal to Westernize. Of course, Liu is simplifying things here, as Westernization means many things, and modern Western liberalism represents only one, albeit the most successful, of the many political traditions and thinkings from the 17th century onward.


    You should also read the following exchange between Liu and Ren Bumei, another Chinese tradition critic:


    (the whole article is a bit long, I only included the link from a part of the discussion)

    As for your assertion:

    “Yes, of course, some of these ideas have their origins in the West, but there’s plenty of precedent for a belief in fundamental freedoms and human rights in China’s native traditions, too (this will be the subject of a future post at some point”

    I am not sure Mr.Liu himself would agree with you, whether your argument has historical validity or not. Again, I don’t think he should be jailed, but there is a strong point to be made that his thinking is quite anti-Chinese tradition, which has been the intellectual mainstream in China since the early part of the 20th century. And Liu is simply a part of that tradition.


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