China Responds to Liu Xiaobo Nobel

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Chaoxu (马朝旭) said in a press conference late today that the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to dissident Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) goes against the aims of the prize and profanes its meaning.

Responding to questions from reporters, Ma said that the prize should “go to people who promote peaceful relations among different peoples, who enhance friendship among nations, who promote disarmament and who work for and publicize conferences of peace.”

Ma also said the awarding of the prize to Liu Xiaobo would “do harm to Sino-Norwegian relations.” Even the Xinhua news agency story on the Foreign Ministry response was kept from the front page at Xinhuanet, the news agency’s official website, and the news appeared at none of China’s major commercial internet news portals.

Chinese economist and scholar Feng Zhenghu (冯正虎), also a well-known rights defender in China, said on Twitter: “I’ve done interviews with BBC, Voice of America, Asahi Shinbun, South China Morning Post and others [about Liu Xiaobo winning the prize]. I’ve not been contacted by a single domestic media.”

8 Comments to “China Responds to Liu Xiaobo Nobel”

  1. King Tubby says:

    Gan Lu. I will amp up my response tomorrow morning. Evolutionary biology as a predictor of institutional/political behaviour. Are you serious? This exchange sounds like fun.
    BTW. It is King Tubby. Pls note that I treated your reply respectfully.

  2. King Tubby says:

    Gan Lu. I will amp up my response tomorrow morning. Evolutionary biology. Are you serious? This looks like fun.

  3. Gan Lu says:

    Tubby: “You would be hard=pressed to find a novice or expert willing to use this catch-all-category to explain the forces transforming a country domestically or internationally. (Such an idea disappeared in the West in the late Medieval Period.) ”

    Wrong again, Tub. In fact, the opposite is true – i.e., you’d find it difficult to find an expert in a respectable history department who is NOT committed to the importance of contingency. (The concept is also central to the study of evolutionary biology [a.k.a., natural history].) The point I made in my first response to you remains valid. You asserted that “change will be determined by the Party,” and I continue to insist that this is laughably wrongheaded. Nothing you wrote in your last response to me changes a thing. It is simply foolish to imply that the CCP controls its own fate. Asserting that the Party will endeavor to adapt to future demands for reform is not quite the same thing as claiming that the Party will “determine” how it changes. As ruthless and pragmatic as the Party may be – and I agree that it is both – “adapting” (passive) and “determining” (active) are vastly different concepts. Evolution is not something we choose; it is forced upon us. In short, Tub, circumstances (i.e., the Tiger), not Party preferences, will determine how the CCP reforms. That is, the Party evolves because it must. Make no mistake, throughout the reform era, the Party has been forced to relinquish many of its former prerogatives. Perhaps we should congratulate them for recognizing the threats they faced and for choosing to adapt – but only if we also recognize that this adaptation was accompanied by significant atrophy. Future reform will almost certainly lead to similar weakening. In the end, like countless regimes before it, the Party may reform itself right out of power. (In any case, I’m not anticipating a collapse of any sort. I rather prefer arguments in favor of social and institutional decay to those that predict the CCP’s dramatic demise.)

    Yes, I’ve seen your comments elsewhere. Indeed, several bear a striking resemblance to those you’ve posted here. And rest assured, I haven’t mistaken you for Putz.

    I love the OED and use it often. Even so, it’s hardly the last word on the importance of contingency to the contemporary study of history.

    Was I derisive? On the last page of the first paper I ever wrote in graduate school, my professor wrote the phrase 平淡无奇, which means something like “insipid,” “vapid,” or “unremarkable.” I deserved it, as do you.

  4. King Tubby says:

    Gan Lu. Despite your derision, I will keep it well-mannered here. (You obviously do not follow my comments across other sites, and pug-ster and I are worlds apart.)

    According to my OED, contingency = chance= randomness of causal factors explaining historical change. You would be hard=pressed to find a novice or expert willing to use this catch-all-category to explain the forces transforming a country domestically or internationally. (Such an idea disappeared in the West in the late Medieval Period.)

    Let me expand my point. Should pressures for political reform/change in China become intolerable for the Party, the CP would be quite willing to go to a Plan B, some type of controllable reform platform capable of being managed. And why not? Upper level cadres, senior govt figures etc would not lose out/be cast into the dustbin of domestic PRC history.

    Quite the reverse. They have access to funds, family, crony and business networks, plus in many instances, serious expertise. They would simply reinvent themselves and continue to prosper much like what took place after the collapse of the Soviet Union. (Keep in mind that only a small percentage (?) of the 70m plus party members actually benefit from the existing system.)

    Would political reform usher in democracy as understood in Western terms. Highly unlikely. And here I refer you to Putin’s Russia today and also some social characteristics hard wired into the Chinese psyche.

  5. Gan Lu says:

    King Tubby: “One thing is certain, change will be determined by the Party, and not by the West.”

    Not a very smart thing to say, Tubby. China is as subject to the forces of contingency as any other nation. In the end, the Party is riding the very same tiger that everyone else is. At no time in China’s recent or ancient past could a group of smart Chinese predict with any accuracy what China would be like just 50 years hence. In 1750, for example, no one could have predicted what China would be like in 1800. Similarly, no one in 1800 could have predicted what China would become in 1850. The same goes for 1850, 1900, 1950, and 2000 (or 2010). Your suggestion that the Party is in control of its own future is completely laughable. Novice sinology, indeed.

  6. King Tubby says:

    Bill. This is more than a black and white situation, there are lost of shades on grey to be considered, and therein lies a part of China’s future. Scroll thru the op pieces here, and there is serious food for thought. ie the oblique and non-conpliant nature of sections of the Chinese media driven by commercial imperatives. What Beijing says for public Western consumption is one thing, and the Western media are just loving this one.

    I suspect Beijing has a Plan B if this issue gains traction domestically. If anything, the CPC is totally pragmatic when it comes to no-win situations. It is resilient, opportunistic and thoughtful, and quite capable of folding its cards for the sake of its long term survival, and the latter could include some degree of political reform determined by it own timeline. One thing is certain, change will be determined by the Party, and not by the West.

  7. Bill Rich says:

    I just hope the world will see the real China in this incident.

  8. King Tubby says:

    Good one, David. Aside from the vitriol being heaped on Norway and the warning by Wen (if I recall) to EU countries not to act as a “Greek chorus” , I suspect there will be a practical dimension to this affair. Liu Xiaobo will suddenly see a change in his prison status (improved food, medical and similar), just in case down the track he is given an early release. At the same time, the authorities will probably send in their best velvet glove educator to try and get him to change his views.

    Either way it is hard to kill off an idea, be it virulent nationalism or democratic political reform. While Liu might not be interested in any convergences outside his Manifesto, but some of his supporters will ie corruption, rich/poor divide, enviromment, price of apartments. etc. The whole box and dice.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to Bejing strategise a response to this one.

    Novice sinology. The best Great Game in town.

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