A Nobel Prize for Assange?

According to the WiseNews Chinese language publications database, a total of 40 news articles in mainland Chinese print media today include the keyword “Liu Xiaobo” (刘晓波). Of these, 39 are re-runs of the most recent official Xinhua News Agency release on the Nobel Peace Prize. In that release, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs blasted a resolution from the U.S. House of Representatives congratulating Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo on his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, saying it “toyed with the truth and confused black and white.”

What was article number 40 dealing with Liu Xiaobo today?

It was an editorial in Beijing Daily, the official Party mouthpiece of the Beijing city leadership, criticizing the Nobel Peace Prize as a “tool of Western values and ideology,” and snidely suggesting that this year’s prize be given instead to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

A translation of the Beijing Daily editorial follows:

Why not give the peace prize to Julian Assange?
December 10, 2010

If we want to talk about someone who is now a figure in the global spotlight, then who, if not Julian Assange? The founder of the Wikileaks website has been the subject of a worldwide manhunt by Western nations led by the United States, and all because he wanted to release a number of secrets that could not be spoken. Based on what we know, Assange, who was arrested in London on December 7, will have to face a two-year jail term . . .

Assange’s misfortunes tell us that the freedom of speech that America advocates is not an absolute freedom, that it is a matter of kind and degree, and that it has its limits. Ordinarily, if you say vicious things about the American government, talk about its problems, or even openly critical the American government, this is nothing very remarkable. But this time Assange has dared expose the truth, airing out before the world a number of things and remarks that the American government wouldn’t dare make public, make transparent or share with others — and this has stepped over the line of America’s freedom of expression. And the worldwide manhunt [for Assange] is no surprise.

And this brings us back to the Nobel Peace Prize. According to the decision by the Nobel Committee and the remarks of a number of other Westerners [concerning Liu Xiaobo], considering the acts of free speech in which this Assange has personally participated, opposing all on his own the “government violence” of several Western nations, could he not be regarded as a “fighter for freedom of expression”? Why don’t the noble members of the Nobel Committee claim that the Peace Prize is given “in the defense of freedom of expression,” and then give it to this Assange who has been persecuted, chained and jailed by the West?

Everyone knows, of course, that this is impossible. . . . and the question of who can and who cannot obtain the prize is now entirely a matter of the likes and dislikes of the United States, NATO and the nations of western Europe, and depends on whether or not the recipient of the prize can become a tool for Western forces in attacking countries with different ideologies. Even if this tool is serving out a prison sentence for violating the law, so long as the tool can serve its purpose, they see nothing wrong with awarding them the Peace Prize.

Look through the name list of those who have received the Nobel Peace Prize, from Sakharov, who advocated division in the former Soviet Union, to Gorbachev, who single-handedly disintegrated his own nation, then to the Dalai Lama, who pursued “Tibetan independence” through violent terrorist activities, and to Liu Xiaobo, who is now serving a sentence for violating Chinese laws — all are tools of the West in promoting its values and ideology.

Assange wears the placard of “freedom of expression,” and this placard itself is something the West habitually uses to flaunt itself and intimidate others. But his actions [Assange’s] have actually jabbed at the American government and made Americans very unhappy. There is little hope, therefore, that he will be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. If Mr. Nobel knew just how his Nobel Prize was being so spoiled, I wonder what he would think!

Frontpage photo by Esther Dyson available at Flickr.com under Creative Commons license.

24 Comments to “A Nobel Prize for Assange?”

  1. mimi says:

    Hmm…kind of ironic seeing as Wikileaks is banned in China…

  2. M. says:

    I agree with the author that the Nobel Peace Prize is political and that if the committee were seriously considering to award Assange, the U.S. government would probably be able to interfere successfully at a very early point in time, though if word got out, both the committee and the U.S. government would have some serious trouble trying to spin the negative publicity away. That said, the article is a pretty boring and unimaginative piece of propaganda, simply repeating the same old message (yes, verbatim) that has been spread through the Chinese media time and again.

    Too bad for the Beijing Daily that Assange has received awards by a number of organizations (such as AI) that Chinese media frequently accuse of being tools of the U.S. government to lash out against China.

  3. Justin O says:

    USA doesn’t control the NORWEGIAN RUN AWARDS!
    China is stupid, and its leaders appear to have the same brain capacity as Saddam Hussein, Hitler or Mussolini.
    If the western world really wanted to give China the big “F U”, they would put a blockade on exports shipped from China. Voila, no more Chinese economy.

    Way to make yourself look like North Korea China, we’ll just stick you in that same “shithole country” category, and the two countries can rickshaw off into the sunset together.

  4. zuiba says:

    If the Chinese’s motive to say that Assange deserves the Nobel Peace award was love and respect for freedom of expression, then they should pay tribute to all advocaters of this great value, starting with Liu Xiaobo. If their purpose is too piss off Westerners, they certainly will miss their shot, since most Westerners (I’m not talking about governments, of course) like Assange and respect what he did.

  5. Gregor says:

    The author is right, in saying that the Western world is not “better”. Assange is an good example for many things that are going wrong in Europe. I am loosing my faith, that I am living in a so called democratic country…

    However, I agree with Jocye Lau, the issue is still that the Chinese government has put Liu Xiaobo in prison for 11 year, just for promoting his idea how China could be. Mr. Liu hasn’t even formed a political movement, nor organized demonstration. How can you justify 11 years? There is no justification! That is way the nobel peace prize was right and important….

    Like Public Enemy once said, we got to fight the power back. 随波逐刘

  6. Jaap says:

    there is a good reason why Assange is not getting the Nobel Peace Prize this year. the reason is procedural. the nomination has to be done before jan 31: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize#Award_process
    so the Prize might still be awarded for 2011, this year Assange’s notoriety was about half a year too late.

  7. ChasL says:

    There is one huge distinction between Assange and Liu – Liu Xiaobo was on US government’s payroll to conduct domestic politics, while Assange blew the whistle on America’s imperialistic foreign policy without underwritting by foreign powers that may wish to weaken US influence.

    – Evendence of US government’s patro- nage and sponsorship of Liu Xiaobo can be found in the NED’s (cover for the CIA) own China grant publication to groups Liu founded.

    – Assange’s arrest has US fingerprint. The bogus sex charge to discredit the messenger, is based on puritian/protestant tradition of sex shame not prominent in Europe. And the same ploy was used against another peace activist, UN weapon inspector Scott Ritter, in order to silence his opposition to the Iraq war.

    In essense, if there’re lessons the Chinese will learn from us, it is this: Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to demonize nations we don’t like, and while dissident in US are always criminals, criminals in China are always dissidents.

  8. Niklas Furst says:

    What all you people really are trying to say is: We want war!

    Neither Assange or Xiaobu should receive a nobel peace prize.

    They are both participating in conflicts that haven’t been resolved – especially not by themselves.

    If any of these people manage to solve a conflict, where all parties are satisfied with the solution, then we can start talking about a peace prize.

    War-prizes and peace-prizes.

    These conflicts (and the people behind them) are good.
    If i was to institute some kind of war-prize, where i believed a war is necessary for human progression, i’d give to Assange first and Xiabao second.
    If was to insitute a peace-prize, i’d give it someone who solved either of the two conflicts.. The winner of the peace prize would however have to thank the winner of the war prize for even making human progress possible.

  9. Simon says:

    joe says, the BBC still have not mention about the Philippines a US ally boycotting the award ceremony despite being told repeatedly so. The BBC particularly their big card journo John Simpson were guilty of anti China reporting and too willing in its support of the Nobel committee’s version of 48 countries attending it would be too much of an embarrassment to climb down and admit why both the Philippines and Palestine had boycotted. Never in the history of the Nobel peace prize did so many countries boycotted the award ceremony but the BBC John Simpson calls it a PR disaster for the Chinese for failing to get more country not to attend. Mr Simpson need to stop wearing rose tinted lens and get out more. Countries who attend such as the EU had no choice and as a result of arm twisting from America. UK, France, Germany, says they only attend because it was customary for themin support of the prize and they never boycotted before. Ukraine and Serbia was reluctant countries pressurised by the US.

  10. Simon says:

    Give Julian Assange the Nobel paece prize and see how many freedom loving countries boycot his award ceremony? If Assange does not get a Nobel peace prize next year it will prove to the world the Nobel committee is a fraud nothing more than a political tool of USA and Nato to criticise other countries that don’t kowtow to them.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Brandon, you’re being naive now. Several American politicians have already called for Julian Assange to be assassinated. They even labeled him as “information terrorist”. You should also think about Bradley Manning who is being held in solitary confinement for leaking the diplomatic cables without even being allowed legal assistance.

    Judging from your comment you also seem to believe that it’s only the Republicans who oppose civil liberties, but in reality the Democrats are not better at all. I’m sure you voted for President Obama in the anticipation of “change and hope”, so you should actually know better. Right now it looks as he will turn out to be even more sinister than his predecessor. Why? Because he has granted himself the right to kill any American citizen without a trial or a court order, so that even former conservative government advisors cringe.

    Source: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/09/25/secrecy

    // David Rivkin, a lawyer in the White House of President George H. W. Bush, echoed that concern. “I’m a huge fan of executive power, but if someone came up to you and said the government wants to target you and you can’t even talk about it in court to try to stop it, that’s too harsh even for me,” he said. //

    Do you still believe you can maintain your self-righteous and arrogant sense of American superiority?

  12. King Tubby says:

    Mischievous bilge by the Beijing Daily. Assange and wikileaks does not need any recognition like this. Public sentiment in his home country already runs at around 70% in his favour, and a disgusting Australian Federal Government is now in the process of recalibrating its position vis a vis Assange.

    Assange’s fan base is already massive. Like me, enjoy the forthcoming round two of Anon cyber warfare.

    Xi Jinping better be a commensurate manager of the various power factions and family money interests in the Politburo, otherwise some pissed-off member of the CP red phone set could be tempted to take out social insurance ie fill a large USB with similarly embarrassing documents and get it outside the GFW for media scrutiny and global derision.

    Just imagine a Chinese cablegate on it dealings with African nations. Mafia corruption elevated to the level of nation state policy.

    This day will come.

  13. Branden says:

    I was going to say, China is more of a censured nightmare than any. If Assange was Chinese, he would be doing exactly what Liu did to the Chinese Government, but on a much larger scale. The difference really is the fact that Liu has been under constant watch from the Chinese Government, with a sentry literally posted outside his home.
    Assange and Liu, however “counterrevolutionary” they are deemed, and whether or not you agree with what they are saying, deserve recognition for exposing flaws in both Governments (Whether those flaws were already exposed or not) and also showing how mass media and technology intertwine and will alter the way we think about our “Freedom of Expression.”

  14. rolf says:

    Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel Peace Prize
    Research by: C. Liu

    Liu Xiaobo has as president 2003-2007 and thereafter Honorary President of the “Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Inc.” (Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Xiaobo), and as founder of “Democratic China, Inc.”, received the following amounts of money from NED (N

  15. aksa says:

    Assange is a terrorist, but apart from that, he is not in custody because of his terrorisme, but because he raped two women. And he is not in custody because of the United States, Sweden is a totally different country. The propaganda by the totalitarian regime in Mainland China is simply pathetic. Long live the legitimate Chinese government of the Republic of China, the government of all of China!

  16. Felix Fadjar Marta says:

    Julian Assange is a hero of democracy. Should all the clowns in the Nobel Prize Committee do not have a double standard towards democracy they should also award Julian Assange as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Should they do not do that, I would like to suggest the Government of the People’s Republic of China arrange a committee for awarding him a Universal Peace Prize. And then let’s see how the western countries react such award.


  17. Rafael says:

    Really interesting article, and very well articulated comments for and against, but I agree with Brandon, both Assange and Xiaobo are fighting against the same monster but with different faces, the Censure. The difference is that Assange would be death if he would dared to do the same with Chinese diplomatic documents.

  18. And I suppose Assange stands a good chance of being nominated for next year’s prize. Granted, I’m not sure revealing State Department gossip will be enough to get him the prize itself….

  19. Jon says:

    If the author feels so strongly about Assange, why not nominate him for the Confucius Peace Prize?

  20. YWX says:

    I’m embarrassed for the author of this essay – and for the vast numbers of Chinese who think like him.

    Oddly enough, while increasing numbers of Americans and members of the Western media are suggesting that WikiLeaks’ release of U.S. diplomatic cables actually makes the U.S. look pretty good, the Chinese media continues to blast away at what they’re calling “America’s Diplomatic 9/11” (see cover story of most recent issue of 看天下).

    Beijing Daily: “[T]he freedom of speech that America advocates is not an absolute freedom, that it is a matter of kind and degree, and that it has its limits.”

    No shit, Sherlock. Who said that freedom of speech was absolute?

    Likewise, the editorial’s use of such loaded words as “manhunt” and “persecution” when describing the legal case being made against Assange is laughable considering that nothing is said about the actual charges being leveled at him. The result is that readers are left with the impression that Assange was arrested for leaking the diplomatic cables, not sexual assault.

  21. Joyce Lau says:

    This article is ridiculous.
    Assange released thousands of secret government documents that were leaked to him.
    Liu wrote an essay on democracy.
    Assange turned himself into the police four days ago.
    Liu is in jail for 11 years just for disagreeing with the government. Even his wife is detained, and she did nothing.
    If you want to read WikiLeaks, you can go to any major (or minor) U.S. media site and read till your heart’s content. The government can object, but the American media is free.
    If you want to read or even hear about Liu in China — well, without a proxy, forget about it.

    There have been vigils in Hong Kong for Liu, which goes to show that concern for him is not a Western matter. People here are Chinese, and are plugged into the Chinese economy, but they can still think for themselves.

    Beijing is acting like a spoiled child. And bloggers like this one are not helping — they’re just rousing up anger based on smoke and mirrors.

    I’m proud of Liu. The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the world’s top accolades and he is the first Chinese to win it. People are so busy getting upset that they’ve forgotten to see that this is actually an honor.

  22. Brandon says:

    No matter how much I despise the Chinese government, I couldn’t agree more that the idea of giving Assange the Peace Prize (1) comports with many of the same reasons Liu Xiaobo won the Peace Prize (advocating certain freedoms); and (2) exposes a painfully true contradiction in “Western” government rhetoric about advocating freedoms.

    The difference is that the type of free speech that Assange is testing ever makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court, it would have a fair shot of being ruled as Constitutional under free speech jurisprudence. Under the current Republican-minded Court, however, that probably wouldn’t happen. But at least it would have a chance with all the benefits of due process. In China, there would be no fair shot at all.

  23. jdmartinsen says:

    The Beijing Daily website version of this piece credits Liang Fengming (梁凤鸣), formerly of the newspaper’s editorial department (1992-2003), then head of the city desk, and since 2007, the general editor of Beijing Business Today, a Beijing Daily Group newspaper.

  24. joe says:

    however, chinese media still haven’t published the cable on the PBSC…

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