Nobel Prize Thoughts

Written by Julen Madariaga on October 8th, 2010

I just learnt about Liu’s Prize. This is important news, which could mark the beginning of new developments in international politics.

Certainly, the whole thing would have been more effective if the Nobel wasn’t completely made worthless by last year’s award. But even without that, it couldn’t have any positive direct result. The government will not move because of outside pressure, and Mr.Liu, the brave drafter of the Charter, will hardly see his situation improved.

What this Nobel may probably bring is some important indirect consequences, such as:

1- The government will learn perhaps that raw power is not always the best way in international politics. How were they expecting to threaten Norway, not buying any more oil and smoked salmon? The problem of soft power, which ccp has definitely NOT mastered yet, may have to be reconsidered.

2- This is a very direct attack against the party, and even if it comes dressed in neutral scandinavian colours, everyone knows this represents the Western establishment. Internally this might provoke some reactions and give strength to the radical. This and the pressure on the yuan may quickly escalate in the coming weeks.

3- There is no way to know ultimately what will be the outcome of all this. From a pure justice point of view, clearly a person imprisoned for writing about human rights is more worthy of this prize than a newly elected politician. But looking at the World political and economic situation today, I am afraid this might be a not so smart move.

Let’s hope for the best. In the meantime, congratulations to Liu, a brave Chinese man.

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Comments so far ↓

  1. Oct

    On the brave Liu:

    In a 1988 interview with Hong Kong’s Liberation Monthly (now known as Open Magazine), Liu was asked what it would take for China to realize a true historical transformation. He replied in this way: “(It would take) 300 years of colonialism. In 100 years of colonialism, Hong Kong has changed to what we see today. With China being so big, of course it would take 300 years of colonialism for it to be able to transform into how Hong Kong is today. I have my doubts as to whether 300 years would be enough.”

    On the (in)famous Nobel ‘Peace’ prize:
    “…one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

    Paris, 27 November, 1895
    Alfred Bernhard Nobel (extract from the will)

    On the pompous ‘independent’ Nobel Committee Members:

    Thorbjørn Jagland: Chair of the Nobel Committee. Secretary-general Council of Europe.
    President of the Storting. 2005-2009. Prime Minister 1996-1997. Foreign Minister
    2000-2001. Member of the Storting 1993-2009. Member of the Committee since 2009, appointed for the period 2009-2014.

    Kaci Kullmann Five : Deputy chair of the Nobel Committee.
    Self employed Advisor Public Affairs. Chairman of the Young Conservatives, 1977-79. Member of the Storting, 1981-97. Cabinet Minister for Trade, Shipping and European Affairs, 1989-90. Chairman of the Conservative Party, 1991-94.
    Member of the Committee since 2003, reappointed for the period 2009-2014.

    Sissel Marie Rønbeck :Chairman Social Democratic Youth (AUF) 1975-1977. Member of the Storting 1977-1993. Cabinet Minister 1979-81, 1986-89 and 1996-97.
    Member of the Committee since 1994, reappointed for the period 2006-2011.

    Inger-Marie Ytterhorn: Senior political adviser to the Progress Party’s parliamentary group. Member of the Storting, 1989-93. Member of the Election Law Ad hoc committee 1998-2001.
    Member of the Committee since 2000, reappointed for the period 2006-2011.

    Ågot Valle:Member of the Storting 1997-2009. President of the Odelsting 2001-2005.
    Member of the Committee since 2009, appointed for the period 2009-2014.

    On how have the retired ‘viking’ politicians got the power to decide on who (“have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”) suits their annual political agenda?

    In late 1948, the committee was made proportional with parliamentary representation of Norwegian political parties. Member seats are allocated accordingly. The practice was cemented by The Norwegian Labour Party, which controlled a simple majority of seats in the Norwegian Parliament.

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Oct

    I know about that quote of Liu. It is clearly stupid and unfortunate, but you are getting out of context a single sentence from more than 20 years ago. Have you never said something you regretted afterwards? I think it is unfair to judge him for that.

    And what is more important: yes, that guy IS brave. He has the guts to say openly what he thinks, signing with his name, unlike you. And unlike you, he has been jailed for just that. So please get real and show at least some respect for a man who has the guts you dont have.

    Regarding the Nobel committee, sure I agree with you. They are just Norwegian politicians, they are not God, I am quite critical about them inthe post. But this takes nothing away from the fact that this time they have made a good choice, and the World will recognize this from the facts, not from the guys’ CVs.

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Oct


    On Liu’s quote, I am just providing another perspective (a perspective which is nowhere to be found in the ‘free’ world media) on this man and possibly what might be his real agenda behind those shiny slogans (freedom and democracy, etc. which nobody could disagree). Somehow, this man’s connection with NED, a loose cannon of CIA does suggest what he said 20 years ago perhaps was not a slip of the tougue. He is smart enough, determined enough, however, since when the ‘Peace’ prize is supposed to award bravery? Everybody makes mistakes, indeed, I have said something, many things, perhaps I regrett afterwards. However, please compare like with like (I know you want to protect his image.). I have never heard that he regrets what he said then. I thought that a ‘brave’ man as such would have the gut to admit his mistakes and correct them. I stand corrected if you can provide evidence showing otherwise.

    On the Committee, again I am just provding another perspective (excuse me for repeating, which is hard to find in the ‘free’ world media.) which might tell something more than those shiny statements they make annually. On the ‘fact’, a choice is a fact, but a ‘good’ choice is not. A ‘good’ choice is a matter of individual valuation (your god could be my demon). What is indeed a fact is that I fail to find any clear connection between the Noble committee members’ choice(s) and the criteria laid out in the original will — the ultimate place where the five Nobles memebers draw their mandate. I know there is no shortage of people (for whatever reasons) who will do their best to stitch the two together so as to justify the choice(s). I also know that there are plenty of people who are the willing followers of the cheer leaders. I hate to spoil their party with a pinch of salt, but I have to say that this is not what Alfred Nobel wished according to his will (not according to what you or I value).

    [Reply to this comment]

    Julen Madariaga Reply:

    OK, so the “Free World Media” is not free and even less ” World”. And the American government has an enormous influence, not only directly via the CIA, but through many other ways, in international politics. I can give you that, actually it is pretty obvious.

    But this only supports my point. What China (and the World) need is the emergence of a peaceful power that can balance that. And China itself would be a good candidate for this if its system were more true and more fair to it’s own people. Liu is certainly not perfect, but at least he is defending a just cause and losing his freedom for it. And yes, I do think in the long term unsustainable regimes can threaten World peace. Therefore this is a prize for World Peace, much more so than last year’s.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Oct

    1. They are not as free as many people have been led to believe, evidence provided.

    2. You are stitching the patches hard. Please check Nobel’s will.

    3. “Treaten world peace”, you mean the regime that has numerous military bases all over the planet, has been engaged in more wars and has invaded more countries than any other “unsustable regimes” in the world since 1945? That’s certainly sustainable. I digress.

    4. Obama perhaps has more capacity and capability to contribute to fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the holding and promotion of peace congresses than this ‘brave’ man. I actually think that Obama was a better choice, relatively speaking.

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. Oct

    The context:


    [Reply to this comment]

    Julen Madariaga Reply:

    Alfred Nobel’s will further declared that the prize should be awarded by a committee of five people chosen by the Norwegian Parliament. Therefore the merits of the candidate are to be decided by those guys, not by you and me, and that is exactly what they have done.

    Anyway, I don’t think the main point in discussion is this, after all Nobel is only a prize set by a Western millionaire. The main point for me is whether Liu deserves it or not. I think he does, and I think China will need people like him when the economic miracle comes to a stop.

    Also, thanks for the context, it is obviously a very pessimistic message from someone who had lost faith in his people. Although you can also understand it in the light of the last answer, as a cry against the excesses of patriotism - a point where the communists quickly betrayed their principles. In any case, I hope he has changed his views on the 土壤. If he hasn’t, I would have to agree he I not fit for the prize.

    Finally, regarding the US, I couldn’t agree more with you. That is precisely why I was against last year’s Nobel. But I don’t see how this is on topic, we are discussing Liu an China here, not the US.

    [Reply to this comment]

    hehe Reply:

    @Julen Madariaga,

    Do you still think China will need people like him?

    [Reply to this comment]

    hehe Reply:

    @Julen Madariaga,

    On the choice of the prize, I think you are really stretching the fact. Are you suggesting that Nobel was giving the five-member committe a total free hand in choosing the winner, regardless of what he wrote in the will in relation to the condition that should be met by the candidates? Maybe the 5 noble memebers will choose a panda next year.

    [Reply to this comment]

    kailing Reply:

    @hehe, Although difficult to accept, I do not completely disagree with Liu’s idea, as I think what he said has some sense. 100 years of Semi-colonialism in China (1849-1949) brought concern in the education to women and to low classes, the birth of democratic ideals, the consciousness of modern China as a nation (not just the land of a dynasty), western medicine and science… Sometimes external pressure (as when something is obliged to open the eyes and see that there is more to the world than just Zhongguo) is of some use when internally there is just passive apathy that leads nowhere.
    What is sad is that XIX-XX Century China needed this external pressure to wake up and move forward; and it seems it was not enough, as a lot of old pseudo-feudal attitudes are still ingrained in the Chinese mind. The always complacent (ass-kissing) attitude towards the superior in power (he is wrong, you know, but you can not tell him as he is over you…), the importance of personal connections to obtain one aims instead of a common law (oh that guanxi!), the link between country and political power as in “if you do not love me, you do not love the country” (Ma Xianbo already wrote about that vice in XIX century’s Qing dynasty, and things are not too different today).
    Even more, this can clearly seen in Taiwan, where the KMT is still in debt to this not yet shed off serf-master mentality (I say you obey, I am the leader you the follower, I am China (ROC), China (ROC) is mine,loving me means loving the country, thinking different means traitor to the motherland…), while the DPP considers the Taiwanese people master of their own future. The non-waidiren in Taiwan had enjoyed hundredths of years of certain distance (and a few miles) from the Mainland’s yoking mentality to see things from another perspective (even during the period under stronger Chinese influence (XIX), Taiwan was still considered a liminal area of the empire. The KMT after 1949 tried to play the old tune, but only the new-arrived danced (as they were used to do in China), the rest watched in fear as the newcomers had the power (political and military), and waited for the right time to rattle the boat. The CCP just change the lyrics, keeping the tune, and here everyone had to dance… or die (sooner or later).

    [Reply to this comment]

    Julen Madariaga Reply:

    @kailing, I completely disagree with that statement of Liu, and I sincerely hope he disagrees with it today. Definitely no, China owes nothing to the colonies. It does owe a lot to science and human progress, like we all do, but certainly not to the shameless colonial powers of the time.

    @Richard- thanks!

    [Reply to this comment]

    kailing Reply:

    @Julen Madariaga, Preconceptions do not make science, analysis of facts do. May be is a hard bite to swallow, but if it is based on facts (who brought human progress and science to china’s shores in a way they could not shut it off?) then may be we have to accept. As Mao said, he had to thank Japan for his ascension to power. Did he mean that he was glad and supportive of Japanese colonial occupation and harassing of China? I believe not. Was he just making a quite fair interpretation to historical facts?, most probably.

    [Reply to this comment]

    hehe Reply:

    What Liu and you alike are advocating is basically ‘democracy, human rights and freedom’ at all cost, foreign invasion, conolisation included, be it physical or non-physical. Liu has always been a proponent of that approach since 1980s.

    Would you consider what the 1.3 billion people, who will receive the full bearing of your brilliant ideas, think? Let alone the millions that suffered and possibly perished during your beloved enlightment process of colonisation more than 100 years ago.

    Take Iraq as an example, I am sure that some people (e.g., the Iraqi Liu) there were delighted when the US invaded the country. They saw that a golden opportunity to liberate the country and the people from tyranny finnaly came, something Liu and you alike would love to see at this side of the world (which may shorten the 300-year process a good bit). However, they didn’t bother asking the Iraqi people, neither did the liberators of course. People perished, many. They didn’t have the chance to choose between their lives and univerally beloved ‘freedom, human rights and democracy’. After all, they didn’t need to. Who can argue against more ‘freedom, human rights and democracy’?

    “Manage a great nation as you would cook a delicate fish.” That is my 2 cents.

    [Reply to this comment]

    FOARP Reply:

    @hehe, In the same interview Liu also praised the Cultural Revolution and said that, if his English was better, he would never return to China. Since he did return after working in the US and did not go back to the US despite having had many opportunities to do so, and since he does not appear to support the Cultural Revolution, it would appear that this interview does not necessarily represent his opinion. Similarly, Mao’s statement that the Japanese invasion of China was ” . . . a great contribution to China . . .” does not necessarily mean that Mao supported Japan’s invasion - you have to look at the context of the statement before you make conclusions as to what it actually meant.

  6. Oct

    Apologies for not entering the debate, just enjoying the diametric positions on this issue from the sidelines, silence in China, salivation in the western media. It will in itself probably be relatively insignificant in regard to the greater scheme of political reform in China, it is after all simply a public expression of what is a common western held perception. Will it make your average Chinese person question how far they should be able to go in discussing democracy or political reform in China?

    To some extent but not really I would say, as most haven’t heard of him, though that may now change. As someone noted on another site somewhere, the big issues will come if or when different social groups align in some sort of protest against the government. What then? I must say I wrote a simple note recently where I noted there is scope for democracy in China now, for the first time ever, on the basis of a majority Han population existing in all areas, but it will only occur, if at all, out of necessity, to sure up legitimacy and it will not be a multi-party system. But, as I also noted, at the moment who knows.

    I realize I have actually commented after all when all I was going to do was say it is good to see you back Julen. But, the fact I was drawn to comment probably expresses that anyway. Cheers. Hope you are back here again a bit more often. A valuable site or voice more precisely.

    [Reply to this comment]

  7. Oct


    Nice whitewash attempt!

    It is out of context? I can read the original text and I beg to differ. Could you tell us then how we, the common people without a sophiscated mindset like those noble Nobel winners, should understand the words of these ‘freedom fighters’ so that they are not used out of context ?

    By the same token as you suggest, are those shiny slogans also out of context? When they shout ‘freedom, human rights and democracy’, could that be the case that they mean something else? Or that it is really a matter of convenience/inconvenience.

    [Reply to this comment]

  8. Oct

    To Foraps alike:

    Get your brush and white paint ready:


    To those who cannot read the original, I try to provide the English version, but I know that I am guity of taking the great thought of our freedom fighter out of context. Apologies in advance for any inappropriate translation and misquote.

    “…From a historical perspective, the colonisation of undeveloped peoples by the west in recent history was a good development (in human history). Colonisation accelerated the process of modernisation worldwide, it opened those self-contained regions one after another, developed commodity and culture markets. It linked the east to the west with open communication. More importantly colonisation spreaded the western ideas of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy and competition to the world, brought international free competition. (In short) Internationalisation cannot be achieved without colonisation.”

    -Liu Xiaobo

    I am just a bit concerned what could happen to the people and to the country should these ‘freedom fighters’ get into power some day. I guess many of the 1.3 billion individuals would share the same concern.

    On a side note, I am wondering if Hitler’s attempted ethnic cleansing of Jews was rather a good development in human history after reading the great thought of the current beloved noble Nobel ‘Peace’ prize winner. After all, Israel and possibly the EU would not have been made possible without the great effort of der Fürer.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Julen Madariaga Reply:

    ##comment-30030 @hehe: Thanks for this material you bring, and the translations. I see now why you dislike Liu, and as I agree with you these statements he did are complete rubbish. But he sounds very bitter, it looks like this was some sort of reaction to a particular situation at the time. Do you think it is fair to judge someone by statements he did 20 years ago? Do you have any more recent quote that might prove that Liu still thinks this way?

    In any case, I definitely think he should qualify those statements if he hasn’t yet.

    [Reply to this comment]

    hehe Reply:

    @Julen Madariaga,

    You may have a point. We all have our emotional and sometimes irrational period during our lives, especially when we are young. Liu made these comments about 20 years ago when he was in his 30s. Let’s execuse him for being emotional and radical because of his age (it is a big execuse I suppose, he wasn’t a teenager after all). What has happened since then? Has he changed his view on and vision for China? Barry Sautman (a political scientist and lawyer at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology) and Yan Hairong (an anthropologist at Hong Kong Polytechnic University) report the following:

    “in 2007, Liu stated that he did not want to take back what he had said in 1988, because it reflects a belief he retains. He attributes progress in China to Westernization and has said that the more that Westernization exists in the various spheres of Chinese society, the more progress is attained. He is either woefully ignorant of the nature of colonialism, which involved legally-mandated racial discrimination and the colonizers’ political and economic monopolies, or Liu finds it a congenial alternative because he is convinced of Western superiority. ”

    When the political trumpet is being blown all over the western world in jubilation for another beacon of ‘freedom’, how many of those who jump on the bandwagon actually understand (or ever bother to) what that beacon really stands for?

    [Reply to this comment]

    hehe Reply:

    @Julen Madariaga,

    On a different matter, I pity the stupidity demonstrated by the Chinese government in dealing with this man and his newly crowned award.

    Liu should not have been jailed because of his speech, instead his view for China, not those hollow and shallow slogans, should have been exposed to the Chinese people.

    For those in the west who are dancing around their newly crowned noble ‘Chinese’ beacon of ‘freedom’, especially those journalists and reporters representing the ‘free’ media, tell them, why don’t you publish the great thoughts of the Nobel ‘Peace’ prize winner at your media outlet, e.g., CNN, NBC, NY times, BBC and Der Spigel etc., so that people all over the world can share his vision and ideas.

    [Reply to this comment]

  9. Oct

    I wasn’t too clear at the beginning about what the so-called “internationalisation” really means when studying the great thought of Mr. Liu above. I didn’t have to wait too long until the great Nobel ‘Peace’ prize winner clarified the concept all together.


    “Uncompromised, complete westernisation is humanisation and modernisation. The choice of westernisation is the choice of living like a human being. The difference between the western system and the Chinese system is the diference between human and inhuman. In other words, To live like a man requires complete westernisation, there is no room for compromise or negotiation. I call westernisation internationalisation, because human ability cannot be fully developed without westernisation. This is not a choice of a nationality, this is the choice of human race. Therefore, I dislike the word “nationalisation”.

    - Liu Xiaobo

    Hehe, if I were the memeber of the Noble committee, I got to jump to bed with this guy immediately too.

    [Reply to this comment]

  10. Oct

    Perhaps now we can fully understand why Mr. Liu(and his freedom fighter organisation) received nearly one million bucks from NED. He just got another million from Europe! Wonderful.

    [Reply to this comment]

  11. Oct

    “When Bush and Blair’s liberal forces are trying to eradicate evil at great cost, only the glib perhaps [would suggest antiwar] Jacques Chirac should win the Nobel Peace Prize. However, I believe that history will eventually prove Bush and Blair’s wisdom, as history has proven Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s wisdom. The world is really glad for this, because the value of human freedom at the core of modern civilization mainly depends on the strength of Britain and America. Britain is the mother of modern civilization, the United States is a master of modern civilization. Freedom as represented by the Anglo-American system, with its benevolence and kindness to humanity in the 21st century, is the mainstream of human civilization.”

    Liu Xiao Bo

    [Reply to this comment]

  12. Nov

    CONGRATULATIONS! you have been harmonized. I can not access you from BJ wo VPN… OOOPS!

    [Reply to this comment]

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