The Nobel Peace Prize

October 8, 2010 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment


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The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this year to a Chinese political dissident named Liu Xiabo. I am guessing that most Americans have never heard of him. I certainly hadn’t. Mr. Xiabo is a Chinese intellectual, a writer and professor who has been jailed on four separate occasions for speaking out about human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese government. He was most recently jailed in 2009. He’s still in prison.

Liu has advocated change through peaceful, non-violent means. Still, he’s been censored by the Chinese government for “spreading a message to subvert the country and authority.” Not only has he been censored, but China has blocked the news of Xiabo’s Nobel Peace Prize from being broadcast to its citizens. Websites with the news have been censored.

How did Xiabo earn his Nobel Peace Prize? In part, by writing articles detailing human rights abuses and arranging to have them published on the internet outside mainland China. Here’s a great example:

This article is an English language translation of Xiabo’s coverage of the Shanxi Black Kiln Slavery Scandal. It’s what landed him in jail most recently. What? You say you’ve never heard of the Shanxi Black Kiln Slavery Scandal? Well, you’re in good company, ‘cause neither had I. When I look it up on the internet, the coverage I find is usually reported by pro-Socialist websites who make out that the scandal is the result of capitalist greed. From what I can tell, there was very little coverage of it, if any, in the American media.

The Shanxi Black Kiln was a factory for making bricks. The factory employed mostly children. Employed is a loose term. Actually, they were slave labor. They weren’t paid a wage at all, and they were kept in conditions that were described as being worse than a dog kennel. The children were kidnapped from their homes and forced into slavery. Some of these children were found months later, still wearing the school uniforms that were on their backs on the days of their kidnapping.

When a group of parents finally came together to find their children, they met roadblock after roadblock. Before that, some parents were individually successful in locating their children and bringing them home but weren’t allowed to remove any other children. Local communist leaders actually protected the factory. When the parents’ group was successful in exposing the travesty, the Chinese government actually had the nerve to blame the parents and say that they should have taken better care of their children.

President Obama has already contacted the Chinese government, asking again for the release of Mr. Xiabo. China’s government has contacted the government of Norway to protest the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to a political prisoner that they feel is treasonous to their regime. Since the Nobel Peace Prize is not actually determined by the government of Norway, it seems a little ignorant and counter-productive to threaten the government of Norway. But then we are talking about the communist party of China here. So far, they don’t seem to be known for their excellent decision making skills.

I think if China has anyone to blame, besides itself, for this public relations nightmare, then they should blame Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, both of whom nominated Liu Xiabo for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. And I bet that the Dalai Lama thought that Xiabo earned that prize. Sticking it to the Chinese government was just a bonus.


Entry filed under: Child Abuse, Ethics, Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Media, Politics. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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