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    » 10/08/2010, 00.00

    CHINA

    Nobel Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a gift for China and the West

    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.

     

    USEFUL LINKS:

    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

    10/12/2010 CHINA
    Bao Tong: a tribute to Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiaobo. Rights for all, by nonviolent means
    The great statesman, under formal house arrest since the Tiananmen Square massacre (1989), shows the great novelty of the proposals of Liu Xiaobo, who today will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, though he will be absent because sentenced to 11 years for "subversion of state power". Affirming human rights through peaceful means condemning Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, who have betrayed the ideals of the People’s Republic of China. The present essay is written to honor the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner and as a preface to the book "A Collection of Essays by Liu Xiaobo”, soon to be published in Chinese.

    09/10/2006 CHINA
    Chinese government uses terrorism charge to eliminate Uighur people

    Thus claims Rebiya Kadeer, Nobel Peace Prize candidate for her defence of Uighur rights and of women's rights in China. She described the accusations of terrorism levelled by Beijing as unfounded and said she hoped for more international attention for her people's plight.



    09/11/2010 CHINA
    A month after Liu Xiaobo gets Nobel Prize, more dissidents arrested
    Beijing marks the event by arresting other dissidents. Mo Shaoping, a lawyer who has represented anti-regime figures in court, is stopped at the airport.

    03/12/2010 CHINA
    Beijing’s paranoia over Liu Xiaobo
    A week before the award ceremony is to take place, Chinese authorities are still arresting dissidents and pro-democracy activists. The Communist government says it will be difficult to maintain “friendly relations” with Norway.

    12/10/2010 CHINA
    After the Nobel to Liu, a retrial is a possibility
    For Chinese authorities, some foreign powers are using the award as “to attack China”. Liu’s wife says that now he is better treated in prison—she is considering demanding a retrial.



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