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» 10/08/2010
Nobel Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a gift for China and the West
by Bernardo Cervellera
The prize is a comfort to all signatories of Charter 08. Respect for human rights and religious freedom are the only way to save China from pending disaster signs of which are already visible today. A warning for Beijing, but also for the West, which only sees the Chinese giant as a means to solve economic problems.

Rome (AsiaNews) - The community of democratic activists and dissidents is overcome with joy at today’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the writer Liu Xiaobo. And although police have blacked out television coverage and gagged Liu’s wife, Xia Liu, the awarding of the Nobel prize for peace to this writer, is of great comfort to all those who had the courage to fight and sign together with him the Charter 08 document, that led to his sentence to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power."

Zhang Zuhua, among the signatories of Charter 08 has declared that: "The award honors the more than 10 thousand Chinese citizens who courageously signed in support of the ideas expressed in the Charter 08 and of all prisoners of conscience”.

For his part, the chairman of the Committee that awards the Nobel Prize, Thorbjoern Jagland said that Liu “is the most prominent symbol of the broad struggle for human rights in China”.

The courage of the Nobel Committee in indicating Liu Xiaobo as the winner of the prestigious prize is, however, surprising. Particularly given that it comes at a time when the international community seems to be prostrating itself before China; super-rich, super-powerful, the largest market in the world, etc. ...

The point is that Liu Xiaobo's and Charter 08's vision of their country is prophetic: without human rights, China may be able to "modernize" itself from the economic point of view, but this modernization will become "madness", the harbinger of a disaster, the traces of which are already visible in China today. Charter 08 cites some examples of this; "government corruption, the lack of rule of law, human rights undermined, the corruption of public ethics, crass capitalism, the growing inequality between rich and poor, unbridled exploitation of the natural environment, both human and historical; the escalation of a long list of social conflicts, and ... a clear animosity between officials and ordinary people". By curbing human rights and democracy, the Communist Party of China becomes fully responsible for the human disaster towards which China is heading.

In this sense, Liu’s proposals (and the Nobel Prize), although poison to Beijing – which as we speak is vomiting criticism and accusations left right and centre - are the best possible and most urgent of medicines for China. It should also be said that there are also members of the Communist Party among the signatories of Charter 08 and that the political reforms put forward by the document address pressing needs that have dogged the nation for at least 40 years, since Deng proposed the "four modernizations" (army, agriculture, industry, technology), but failed to propose the "fifth modernization”, democracy.

Another important element in giving the Nobel Prize to Liu lies in the fact that Charter 08 sees religious freedom as being at the heart of all true reform. It is increasingly clear that one can not defend man (Chinese or of any other culture) without considering him an absolute value and thus in a religious view that sees man as belonging to God and not the state. For this very reason - and perhaps for the first time in the history of Chinese dissidents - a document on human rights calls for religious freedom, the elimination of differences in "legal" and "illegal", official and underground, religious activities. This step - a religious foundation of human rights - is the result of the suffering and imprisonment of several dissidents, among them Liu, who came in contact with the best of Western civilization.

The Nobel Prize and the religious emphasis of Charter 08 and Liu Xiaobo proposals are also a warning to the West. Europe and the United States must choose whether to continue to use China like a donkey to pull us out of economic crisis, without considering the rights of workers and the environment, taking advantage of cheap labor and nothing more, or whether to enhance not only commercial and economic relations, but also human and religious rights, essential to the development of all peoples.

Liu's warning and that of Charter 08 is that if this step towards respect for man and his religious dimension is not taken, China (and its economic super-development) is doomed to failure. And with it the West would fail too.



The full text of the Charter 08 on human rights in China

Liu Xiaobo,“The high walls of the prison cannot block the expression of freedom"

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See also
12/10/2010 CHINA
Bao Tong: a tribute to Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiaobo. Rights for all, by nonviolent means
by Bao Tong
10/09/2006 CHINA
Chinese government uses terrorism charge to eliminate Uighur people
11/09/2010 CHINA
A month after Liu Xiaobo gets Nobel Prize, more dissidents arrested
12/03/2010 CHINA
Beijing’s paranoia over Liu Xiaobo
10/12/2010 CHINA
After the Nobel to Liu, a retrial is a possibility

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