Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel Peace Prize, chinaSMACK Silent

Just a few quick comments because I’ve been shamelessly enjoying the National Day “golden week” and now I’m enjoying the weekend following it.

I don’t really have much to say about the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner. Other people do. I didn’t follow the selection process nor did I read up on the other 236 candidates. Therefore, I can’t make any arguments on the “did he deserve it or not over so and so” side of things, which seemed to dominate the Obama win.

The side that is dominating the discourse right now, however, are the political ramifications surrounding China (or perhaps more accurately, the Chinese government). Honestly, it is unfolding exactly as expected. The Nobel is given to someone the Chinese government doesn’t like and — indulge my generalization here — the West and Western media cheers. China expresses its displeasure in its fairly unique way and the West and Western media cheers — and jeers — louder. Life goes on. For the vast majority of people, their awareness of human rights issues in China peak and then return to some pre-existing default level as they refocus on the trials and tribulations of their own daily lives. The cycle repeats.

I don’t think this award really advances human rights in China in any substantial practical sense. I do think it is a lightning rod that carries a lot of symbolism for the politics involved, and I think it is often used as such. I also think that’s understandable and that the symbolism of support and encouragement that comes from a Nobel Peace Prize does still mean something.

The other comment I feel compelled to make should really be posted over on chinaSMACK but since I no longer comment these days and especially not there, I’ll make it here: To all of you people expecting, demanding, and even harassing Fauna over their lack of coverage on the above Nobel Peace Prize story, knock it off. How completely oblivious, insensitive, and selfish are you guys?

  1. chinaSMACK translates what is popular or trending amongst Chinese netizens on the Chinese internet1. The idea is for non-Chinese readers to see what Chinese people are talking about as opposed to what foreigners are talking about. That’s their value proposition.
  2. Despite the buzz in “the West” over the Nobel Peace Prize, there aren’t a lot of Chinese netizen posts or comments to translate. Part of it is because the Chinese government is actively censoring media coverage and internet discussion about it and about Liu Xiaobo in general.
  3. I don’t blame newer readers of chinaSMACK but the older readers should already know that chinaSMACK has always avoided highly political topics. The current more generic About page doesn’t say so but those who have been following chinaSMACK since its younger days should remember the more personal About page where Fauna explicitly expressed a disinterest in political topics.
  4. If we ignore Fauna’s personal interests as the editorial force behind chinaSMACK, let’s talk about the very real consequences she could face as a Chinese citizen living in China publishing something the Chinese censors are on the prowl for. The least of her worries would be having her blog blocked from China2. That would suck as it is — trust me, I know — and over what? A topic that doesn’t even live up to her blog’s value proposition or her own interests?
  5. Now imagine what the worst of her worries could be. She’s not a foreign national nor is she even safely residing abroad, unlike the Dalai Lama or Rebiya Kadeer, or even Roland Soong. Nor does she owe it to anyone to be their political martyr.

Every so often, you might get a translated Chinese netizen comment that criticizes the Chinese government or the less than ideal living situations in China…but don’t get your hopes up. chinaSMACK covers some news, but it isn’t and never was a political news site, much less a “general” news site. It is and has always been an internet gossip site, and quite frankly, it’s pretty good at being what it is. For example, the biggest thing on the Chinese internet right now is indeed Xiao Yue Yue. Granted, chinaSMACK‘s post on her is a bit impotent since it doesn’t exactly convey just why she’s such a big deal right now. But, to be honest, even if Liu Xiaobo’s news wasn’t being censored, I’d still place my bets on Xiao Yue Yue being the bigger news item. Is this a tragedy? I don’t think so. It’s just life. Think about it, more people know about Old Spice Guy than any jailed human rights activist or dissident.

  1. Actually, sometimes those stories aren’t even really that popular but are apparently interesting enough for some of them to translate anyway. []
  2. It wouldn’t likely be “harmonized” or deleted since it is actually physically hosted outside the country. []


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  1. Jones

    I think the guy deserved it. A lot of people try to make a difference in pursuit of peace and human freedom, very few will stick their own neck out and take a lifetime of punishment for it. He deserves the recognition and applause.

    That last part about ChinaSMACK and Fauna was quite the outburst. Anyway, requesting news being translated, just look at it as an active interest in what the Chinese netizens think about it. Building bridges here.

    • Sorry Jones, my fellow chinaSMACK alumni, you haven’t seen some of the stupider, self-entitled things that Fauna has received in the past 12 hours or so. Now, I’m certainly biased because I’ve had the pleasure of working with her, helping each other out and whatnot. She’s a really bright individual and I have a lot of respect and admiration for her. Bottom line is that some people are expressing their “active interest” in less than reasonable ways. I don’t think verbally insulting her person for not catering to or indulging their political interests against her own interests and safety is them “building bridges”.

      • Jones

        Oh, I know. I was trying to cast a bit (a metric ton) of optimism on it with the “building bridges” haha. I saw the news on TV and I’m not joking when ChinaSMACK and the inevitable maybe 300 or so comments came to my mind.

      • Kai – I do believe that a lot of folk that carouse the ‘Net have really no clue what happens beyond their own country’s borders. 4chan/2ch/facebook/etc. does not represent the real world by any stretch of the imagiation.

      • Ted

        Agree, I didn’t expect to see anything about the prize on CSmack. She has her niche.

  2. ChasL

    Kudos Nobel, you just gave the peace prize to an American spy.

    Liu Xiaobo being on Uncle Sam’s payroll, via the NED, is a matter of public record. Check NED’s own China grant publication. Liu took over $650,000 from the US government.

    As a loyal tax payer, I want my money back!

    • xian

      Technically the NED funds anyone that “spreads democracy”, politically motivated perhaps, ‘spy’ might be going to far.

    • Jones

      ChasL, can you provide a link? I searched quite a bit, but all I found was this copy-and-pasted argument about Liu Xiaobo being an “American spy”. I’m not sure how well a spy will do if he is openly receiving money from the US, as you claim, and also spending a bunch of time in prison for operating so openly…but hey, not everyone is good at their job, are they?

      Now, here’s the part where I say you seem very much like you may be on someone else’s payroll, and where you tell me something about your “German sports car” and how much gasoline costs in “Seattle”, and then ask me if there’s a “$500 dollar party” that you can join. I’m right, aren’t I?

    • This is Charles Liu, the same guy who uncritically re-posted death-threats against Liu on Fool’s Mountain back when Charter ’08 first came out. He’s been posting the same thing on every website in the Sinosphere.

      • pug_ster

        You have any proof that it was Charlies Liu? Who knows, maybe Liu Xiaobo is the evil twin of Charles Liu.

      • Charles Liu? Isn’t one of the regular forumflies at the China Daily BBS?

        • Simple, what made him special was Charter ’08. The Charter directly harkens back to the fall of communism in Europe, and specifically points out a plan (realistic or unrealistic) for political reform in China. By going around collecting signatures, Liu Xiaobo was organising a Han-centred, organised opposition to the government. This was exactly the kind of thing which got Guo Quan into trouble – although his sentence was only 10 years. This is what made him a target. But the conviction itself was for the simple act of publishing information critical of the Chinese government with the intent of changing the political system, it did not even, unlike Guo Quan’s case (see the verdict here: ), refer to Liu’s pro-democracy advocacy beyond that of writing articles.

          • Ooops, this ended up in the wrong place!

          • LoL, I shouldn’t have posted my comment to that huge thread anyway.

            Anyway, yes, we’re going down a better track here. So it wasn’t just his ideas, but it was his actions, his actions of at least creating a central document and then going around collecting signatures, organizing in a manner. So going back to pug_ster and ChasL, I’m asking if their arguments is to suggest his Liu’s foreign assistance made him a more dangerous target.

            I don’t really give the conviction as much stock as you do and I think taking it at face value may not be helpful. What I’m trying to understand is what makes the government act. The “conviction” is a rationalization, not a motivation, to me.

            The reason I’m thinking about this is because a lot of people are guilty of the “simple act of publishing information critical of the Chinese government” even “with the intent of changing the political system”. Of course, “a lot” is relative here but you understand my point. I think there’s a rush to make this as simple as “you can’t speak your mind or advocate change without getting locked up in China” when I don’t think that’s the case. That perpetuates generalizations that aren’t helpful to understanding viable advocacy in China.

            Another reason I’m thinking about this is because of the discussion that surrounded Han Han over the past year or so. Right off the bat, we know that Han Han is far more influential than Liu. His criticisms of the Chinese government reach far more people. Of course, he doesn’t cross certain lines, or he dances around them. But another thing is how “clean” and “home-grown” he is. The guy makes his own money, royalties off his books, perhaps some sponsorships, etc. (I think his racing is a money-losing affair though) and keeps his distance warily away from Western advocacy groups and to an extent the Western media as well. When he appeared on Time, I recall Chinese “liberal intellectuals” cautioning him from getting too close, from getting co-opted by the Western media to become some Chinese political advocate, from being fashioned by the West into some champion against the Chinese government, because that would put him in a tough place. Han Han gets censored, but not really, because he’s so popular his criticisms survive through repostings. He knows this. He knows his greatest risk is having the government convinced that he has become a puppet or proxy for “foreign powers”. He guards his identity as being a Chinese person so his criticisms are unmistakably Chinese as opposed to possibly being influenced by foreigners.

            I’m going off the top of my head here so pardon the dust but as I said, I’m wondering how much foreign assistance weighs on the government’s minds when it comes to determining whether someone is getting too uppity. I know the conviction didn’t say “he’s guilty of colluding with foreign imperialists!” but I think there’s something substantive in considering the significance of any “foreign connection”.

          • Jones

            Wasn’t the original point of contention a la pug_ster about Liu Xiaobo spreading “American propaganda”? It was suggested that Charter 08 was nothing more than American propaganda.

          • pug_ster


            Many here agreed that Liu Xiaobo is financed by the NED to do his work. NED is sponsoring Liu Xiaobo’s work while being Pres­i­dent of the Inde­pen­dent Chi­nese PEN Cen­ter to bring Charter 08 to light, so I believe that Charter 08 is nothing more than American propaganda. I wouldn’t call charter 08 American propaganda if it is not funded by American dollars. I know many people don’t agree with me, but that’s I think.

            As for why I think Liu Xiaobo got 11 years, I think the Chinese government has to draw a line somewhere and probably have to make an example of him. Han Han probably danced around the line but I think he has more of an constructive/comical criticism of certain China’s policies rather than Liu Xiaobo’s less funny “let’s gather signatures to change/reform the government” stance. Han Han doesn’t associate himself with the dissident community, which makes him less of a lightning rod.

          • I think just as, and probably more important in Han Han’s case is that he has not attempted to organise people in anyway, or actually urged any course of action on people. He probably does not want to.

            Contrast this with Guo Quan, who has not, as far as I am aware, been accused by anybody of being associated with foreign organisations. This, however, did not stop him from being imprisoned as a result of writing articles and organising a political party.

            The weight I put on the conviction comes from this – realistically speaking there were other charges that could have been brought against Liu. Spying is one. Treason is another. Sabotage might also work. Such charges could be ‘shown’ merely by, as Charles has, alleging that he worked with foreign powers to ‘harm’ China. Therefore, by choosing subversion charges it appears likely that the government sought to send a specific message to people not to do what Liu Xiaobo was convicted of doing. This is the classic purpose of the law in most countries.

          • @Pug_ster – Propaganda is typified by its content, not by its funding. It is quite possible for someone to produce propaganda without receiving payment. It is also quite possible for someone to receive payment without producing propaganda. Whilst you may suspect a conflict of interest, suspicion is not enough. You must show that the content of the work created by the person so paid comprises an attempt to deceive people to their patron’s point of view in exchange for the payment.

            As an example, Oxfam is one of the world’s largest NGOs. It is partly funded by the British government. Oxfam gives grants to people to perform research. Some of the researchers are also politically active, and write essays. Does this mean that the work produced by these researchers is automatically propaganda (either for the British government or for Oxfam)? Of course not.

            Similarly, the mere allegation that an organisation of which Liu is head received money from an NGO which has received funding from the US government is not enough to render everything Liu does propaganda. To accuse Charter ’08 of being propaganda you need to show more than that.

          • Jones

            Are you saying that the funding was sent to fund the writing of Charter 08, and do you have verifiable proof of that? Or are you just drawing that connection because the same guy who wrote Charter 08 had an organization funded by NED? There’s a big difference. You’re going to have to show evidence that America took an active part in the content and writing of Charter 08 if you want to prove it’s American propaganda.

          • S.K. Cheung

            To KP:
            well said yet again. It’s nice to see a coherent post with nary a mention of “NED”.

            I agree that a “foreign connection” is relevant to his conviction. The question to me is how its relevance compares to other factors.

            Liu was convicted after Charter 08 came out. He had been ‘funded’ by the NED long before that. So clearly, it seems that foreign funding alone was insufficient as an impetus for the CCP to throw down the hammer. But foreign funding + Charter 08 did obviously suffice. So was the Charter the straw that broke the camel’s back, or was it a rebar-laden block of concrete?

            I think your comparison to Han Han is very useful. Here is a guy who is young, photogenic, a race car driver (I mean how cool is that?), self-made financially, with a huge following among the all-important 18-35 demo, who openly criticizes the government while staying away from the no-go zones, and basically gets away with it. He is everything that Liu isn’t. And Liu is where Han Han isn’t. So open clever criticism of the CCP doesn’t buy you prison garb and 3 squares a day, as you have already suggested.

            It seems to me, then, that foreign funding alone, or open criticism alone, is not sufficient these days to raise the CCP’s ire (which I suppose is already some improvement over years gone by). So I think we need to look at the Charter to see what it represents beyond those 2 things.

            The Charter was more than a list of gripes. It conveyed more than merely an intention for bringing change. I think it was actually a road-map for change. It was a how-to manual, with specifics on what needed to change, in what way. It was an enabling piece, missing only the person/event/thing to get the ball rolling. That aspect to me seems to be what took him over the line. Trying to circulate it and garner awareness and support for it further sealed his fate.

            It seems to me, then, that the “foreign connection”, though important, was not the final straw insofar as the CCP is concerned. Ironically, that seems to be the part that gets people’s goat, at least among a subset of Chinese expats living in the US. It would appear that this subset may not be as tapped into the CCP mindset as they would like. One wonders how representative this subset is of the views of Chinese citizens in China.

          • FOARP,

            I agree that “organization” is definitely a major, if not “the” major, factor. It isn’t that Liu has dissenting ideas or thoughts, but what he’s doing. It isn’t that Liu has expressed his ideas or thoughts, but that he’s organizing subversion (in the eyes of the powers that be).

            I still disagree with the weight you put on the conviction because, again, I don’t think its so useful for understanding dissidence in China. Now, as you know, I don’t agree with ChasL’s suggestion that Liu is a spy, but I do think it is important to understand when and where subversion is invoked by the government. Why is it invoked on some but not others? You and I agree on the extent of them organizing. I’m just wondering how much involvement with foreign advocacy groups/organization/media might play into it (as pug_ster suggested) and I cite the cautions a lot of people gave Han Han when he was being courted by foreign media. I think its interesting and worth considering.

          • SKC,

            Agree, and sorry if I seem to be repeating myself since I’m responding to each commenter one at a time. I don’t think the foreign connection broke the camel’s back but I do think it may play some significance and I’m not sure the Charter alone broke the camel’s back either but all of his activities surrounding it and overall. Anyway, I just wanted to delve into this angle pug_ster brought up but, uh, isn’t really developing into something people are taking seriously when it is worth taking seriously.

          • @Kai Pan – I think that foreign involvement was only a very minor factor (or maybe not even a factor) in the political motivation behind Liu’s conviction. Look at the case of Guo Quan – who has never been accused by anyone (not even the most extremist of nationalists) of any involvement with foreigners. Yet Guo Quan was punished in exactly the same way that Liu Xiaobo was, and, just as in Liu’s case, his imprisonment came very quickly after his attempt to organise politically.

            The main use of Liu’s alleged foreign connection (which, remember, is that he was president of a Chinese organisation which received funding from a US NGO which is partly funded by the US government – not exactly the world’s strongest connection) is for propaganda purposes. It is an attempt to legitimise his imprisonment in the eyes of people for whom having any foreign connection automatically makes you a traitor. The Chinese government does not fear exiled dissidents, it does not fear foreign pressure groups, it fears the formation of domestic centres of power beyond its control because only these really threaten its rule.

          • FOARP,

            I think we agree that actual organizing efforts are the main reason. I’m just openly wondering to what extent foreign connections might play, since I’m entertaining pug_ster’s contention. Like you, I do think the foreign connection is useful for propaganda and inciting nationalistic sentiments against dissidents who have such connections. I wouldn’t say the Chinese government isn’t afraid of foreign pressure groups (because the Chinese government has often responded to them), but you and I definitely agree that the Chinese government fears domestic threats the most. That should be obvious! Cheers.

          • @Kai Pan – I think we agree in most areas. The only area in which I find myself strongly disagreeing with you is in the degree to which race plays a role in the attitudes of various people towards China (although even there we agree that it does have some effect) – but this is a discussion for another day.

          • S.K. Cheung

            To KP:
            “brought up but, uh, isn’t really devel­op­ing into some­thing…”
            —you can say that again. It’s a classic drive-by egging, which I said elsewhere on this page, but I can’t remember where and I’m already getting dizzy scrolling up an down… :-)

          • FOARP,

            In the interest of celebrating our agreements, I’ll address what’s still on your mind: Remember, I said I feel your “double standards and prejudices are uncomfortably obvious” (with regards to that topic), so I’m not going to argue against a weakened version of my opinion about you. As far as I am concerned, I don’t find people having double standards and prejudices to be surprising though I can’t help feeling uncomfortable about them with regards to certain issues. I know some people feel the same way about me. That’s life.

      • @Pug_ster –

        I know you’re joking, but just for those who are curious –

        1) ChuckL is another way of writing Charles L.

        2) The exact same comment was posted on Hidden Harmonies, Fools Mountain and a bunch of other sites under Charles’s moniker.

        3) Charles is obsessed with the NED, who he believes he has exposed as a shady arm of the US government, based on internet files he found using Google and the Wayback machine. We’re through the looking glass here people . . . .

        • Jones

          I am a top secret agent working for the CIA (I trust you guys with my secrets because we’re all friends here) and by god, ChasL is the biggest thorn in our side. He routinely uncovers so many of our top secret spies around the world. We thought we were so clever…

        • pug_ster

          Wasn’t Liu Xiaobo the President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center since 2003 until he got jailed? And Independent Chinese PEN Center is funded by the NED? So it is not some kind of conspiracy theory. Maybe he didn’t get all $650,000 but they do get some money from them.

          • S.K. Cheung

            Wow! Really!?! The guy was the president of some institute that received NED funding? So I am waiting with bated breath to hear you tell me just exactly how this fascinating tidbit of information should have affected his candidacy for the prize. Cuz i’m sure you mention it only because it’s relevant, right? And not as some form of cheap character assassination. I’m sure you would never do something like that.

          • pug_ster

            Why not? People complaining that I was paid by the ’50 cent’ party yet they can’t prove it.

          • Jones

            No, him being an “American spy” is the conspiracy theory. An organization receiving funding is not a surprise. It’s the part about spying in the interest for the United States that I’m eager to see proof of.

          • pug_ster

            I didn’t say that he was an “American Spy” But I would say that he is spreading American propaganda via Charter 08.

          • Perhaps you could point out the part of Charter 08 which is “American propaganda” for us.

          • Jones

            Then I fail to see what bearing this has on him being qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize.

          • pug_ster

            The Peace prize is determined by a bunch of people in Norway who seems pro Western. He gets his money by the West. Therefore, he has the ‘best interests’ with China in mind?

          • Slam

            @pug_ster – give it up dude. You’re fighting against freedom. You’re going to lose every time.

            “The Peace prize is determined by a bunch of people in Norway who seems pro West­ern.” – Not pro Western, pro freedom. You’re confusing the two.

            “He gets his money by the West.” – What money? What are you talking about? And, even if he did, it doesnt necessarily mean anything does it?

            “Therefore, he has the ‘best interests’ with China in mind?” – Yes. yes he does. His writings are self evident in that regard. Why dont you read them?

          • S.K. Cheung

            The Nobel could not have been an enticement for Liu to write Charter 08, since he wrote it more than 2 years BEFORE he received the prize. Norway didn’t fund the NED or Mr. Liu. So explain to me to again like i’m 5 years old: how does his funding have anything to do with his candidacy for, and ultimately winning, the prize? If you’re going to cast aspersions, shouldn’t they at least make some sense?

            So next you suggest that Norway, being western, is somehow scratching the US’s back because they too are western. Would it be too much to ask for some basis in why you would say so? And western countries stick together, even when we’re talking about a private endowment? Gosh, who knew Norwegians and Americans were so close? And who knew the Nobel committee and the NED were such buds? Pugster did, i guess.

            So based on his non-Chinese funding, you conclude that he has non-chinese best interests at heart. Does that mean that any extra-national funding of anything must have ulterior motives? You look solely at the funding to evaluate the worthiness of a paper/charter/proposal, rather than at the paper/charter/proposal itself? Do you question his interests based on what he wrote, or who funded him?

            Has the CCP funded anything to evaluate how best to empower Chinese people? If not, can we conclude that the CCP is not interested in empowering Chinese people?

          • Jones

            Human rights are in everyones’ best interest.

          • pug_ster

            @Slam, I’m fighting against Freedom? People who give out Nobel prizes are Pro Freedom? Isn’t that the same crapping speech about ‘Freedom’ that GWB gave about Iraq? Are you saying that China has no ‘Freedom?’ Sorry your definition of ‘Freedom’ is misconstrued. That goes the same for ‘Human rights.’

            As for NED’s slush funds, it does matter. After Liu Xiaobo got jailed repeatedly, I doubt he can hold any academic job or any white collar job in China considering his criminal record. How does he have the means to have a decent apartment, travel and buy his computers to do his work?

          • Slam

            @pug_ster, “People who give out Nobel prizes are Pro Freedom?” – Well yes, precisely. What do you think is going on here? Have you actually read Charter 08?

            “Isn’t that the same crapping speech about ‘Free­dom’ that GWB gave about Iraq?” No, that’s different. Obviously, when the US, as run by the neocons, invaded Iraq, it was at best imperial adventurourism and at worst, a criminal act. (Personally, I think he and his administration should be put on trial for that but that’s a whole other topic). Dont confuse people who lie about freedom like GWB with the actual thing. Do you think that the Nobel committee thought that the Iraq invasion was correct and “pro freedom”? Obviously not. Yes, the Nobel committee is pro freedom, if you can’t see that, then you are in trouble.

            “Are you saying that China has no ‘Freedom?’ Sorry your definition of ‘Freedom’ is misconstrued. That goes the same for ‘Human rights.’ ” What is being said is that China, now, does not have a very core and basic type of freedom, that of political representation and speech. Think about it, Liu XiaoBo is in prison for something he wrote/said about politics in China. That’s a criminal act? It’s insane. You can’t do that in China, i.e., you don’t have that “freedom”.
            As for Human Rights, same thing. Even the U.S. who talks about Human Rights also has violations of them. No country is perfect, but lately, under the US Republican party, there has been an eroding of the idea of universal Human rights. But China has an even bigger problem in that regard too.
            Forget about nationalism and racism, we are talking about universal concepts of freedom and justice. BTW, for the record, I’m American.

            “As for NED’s slush funds, it does matter. After Liu Xiaobo got jailed repeatedly, I doubt he can hold any academic job or any white collar job in China considering his criminal record. How does he have the means to have a decent apartment, travel and buy his computers to do his work?”
            This is just a silly argument and I’ve written enough so I won’t even bother with it.

            pug_ster, do you really envision China being like this forever? The time for democratic pluralism is here, it is now. Why fight it?

          • pug_ster

            @Slam, I don’t think I told you but I live here in the States for god-knows-how-long and I am currently enjoying these ‘freedoms.’ I respect your opinions, but I don’t agree with you.

            As for NED, it is something that is not mentioned readily in mainstream Western Media. Why don’t they? Selective reporting? People mentioned it here get an – vote and many people here dismiss this topic like some kind of urban legend.

            The fact is that without the help of foreign money and political support from foreign governments, dissidents like Liu Xiaobo would never gain the kind of notoriety within China.

          • @Pug_ster – Look, I don’t think you’re arguing in bad-faith, but do you really believe that the NED is some evil organisation pulling all the strings and telling people what to say? You know Liu’s record, it would seem that he does not need any encouragement to advocate democracy in China. moreover, the crime which Liu is imprisoned for is not that of spying, treachery, or receiving foreign funds. it is that of writing articles critical of the Chinese government.

          • pug_ster


            I mostly agree with what you say. Liu Xiaobo doesn’t need to be encouraged to ‘spread democracy’ in China because there are certainly disenfranchised people with the Chinese government. NED doesn’t have to go out and pull strings to tell these people what to say. But the problem with the NED is that it provides financial and political support to these disenfranchised people whom otherwise will be insignificant in China. If many Chinese believe that there should more democracy in China, you will see grass roots efforts within China and perhaps some financial backers to help his cause, not foreign money and support.

            As for the charges against him. I don’t agree that he is a spy considering that he is probably being watched most of the time when he is not in Jail. Being a traitor, based on what he said 20 years earlier about HK and colony thing, probably. Receiving money, legally wrong: no. Morally wrong: yes.

          • S.K. Cheung

            Mr. Liu may well be a bit of a pariah in China, but likely primarily because the CCP doesn’t appreciate him, which likely has a chilling effect on anyone who might considering harbouring him, associating with him, or potentially employing him. Were it not for the fact that the CCP has deemed him a public enemy, I doubt the average Chinese person would feel the same way. And we all know how the CCP likes to tell CHinese people how they should feel.

            So yes, the NED funds may well have allowed him to feed/house/dress himself. But you still haven’t explained in what way this funding “matters”. Are you saying that without NED funding, Mr. Liu may well have starved to death, would never have written the Charter 08 that seems to make you so uncomfortable, and that we wouldn’t be having this Nobel discussion presently? If that’s the case, are you then suggesting that it’s simply easier to ‘eliminate’ dissidents rather than having to listen to them and address their grievances? Cuz that probably mirrors how the CCP feels about the subject.

            After watching how Mr. Liu’s been received by the CCP, do you honestly believe that “CHinese financial backers” would be lining up to support his cause? You seem to suggest that Mr. Liu’s work is irrelevant because there is no “grass-roots democracy” movement afoot. But that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy when the CCP ensures that no such movement will ever hit the streets. You could only claim an absence of such a movement if it doesn’t exist even in an environment that would tolerate it. And the CCP certainly does not engender such an environment.

            I haven’t voted on anything here. But I suspect that you’re gettin’ the love not because you’re mentioning the NED, but because that is all that you’re doing. Try using the NED as part of an argument, rather than simply the basis of a drive-by smearing, and you might have a different experience.

          • Slam

            @pug_ster – Please read and then re-read Mr. S.K. Cheung’s latest post a few times before you even try to respond.

            Anyway, your argument is falling apart here. But I’m curious, what exactly in Charter 08 do you find so offensive for China? Are you worried about the CCP not maintaining power forever?

          • pug_ster

            SKC is attempting to emotionalize this issue by making false assumptions of what I am going to say. I’m not going to play his straw man games and that’s why I don’t usually respond to his comments.

            @Slam, My argument is my opinion and I don’t consider it a fallacy. I read somewhere (I forgot where it was) about the charges of why he was jailed but the crimes is not about writing Charter 08, but rather the way he used to spread it. I don’t remember the jist of it, but it sounds about right. As for the other self convicting question about the CCP, I won’t even answer it.

          • Jones

            You can’t just say that he spread it in some manner that is worthy of him being arrested and sent to prison, harassed his whole life, etc. You kind of need to explain that a little bit more. Es muy importante.

          • Slam

            “SKC is attempt­ing to emo­tion­al­ize this issue by mak­ing false assump­tions of what I am going to say.” – No he is not, he is making a well written and cogent argument for which you have no response.

            “I read some­where (I for­got where it was) about the charges of why he was jailed but the crimes is not about writ­ing Char­ter 08, but rather the way he used to spread it. I don’t remem­ber the jist of it, but it sounds about right.” – This is just pathetic.

            “As for the other self con­vict­ing ques­tion about the CCP, I won’t even answer it.” – So you are implying that you don’t think the CCP should remain in power? Then why are you defending them and denigrating someone who is literally sacrificing his life for China and the concept of political freedom? I beseech you, read Charter 08 and tell me why a man should be jailed for saying such things?

          • S.K. Cheung

            Ahh Pug. You know, usually, if people don’t want to make a response, they simply refrain from doing so. But recognizing that you’re special, I suppose you see a need to make a point of saying what you’re NOT going to do. That’s great. But boy, I’m not the only one posing questions, so you’d think that at some point, you’d have some answers for somebody. Good things come to those who wait….or at least here’s hoping.

            Anyway, you do what you gotta do. But if you’re going to offer the same old lame drive-by smearings on blogs I visit (and you know which ones they are), you can expect the same probing inquiries. And I’ll learn to cope with the usual non-response…sob sob.

          • Nothing tickles me more than knowing how many people scrolled all the way back up to hit the “Reply” button just to continue replying in this thread (I obviously did it too). :D

            I haven’t been following this discussion and am sorta walking into it randomly so excuse me if I’m mistaken about any positions or arguments by those involved.

            I get the impression that pug_ster is arguing (partially in defense of ChasL) that the Chinese government is justified in persecuting/locking up Liu BECAUSE of his foreign financial assistance. If Liu didn’t have that, he’d be a just another domestic dissident (who would still be persecuted if he gets on the government’s radar). But BECAUSE he is supported by foreigners, now he’s ALSO an AGENT for foreign powers interested in destabilizing China. Well, it is “destabilizing” from the Chinese government’s perspective of course but they’re the one’s in power with an interest in staying so, so their concerns are understandable. No one likes someone in their organization causing trouble, especially if that person is being supported by an outsider or even a competitor. Geo-politics, nothing unusual here.

            So, the way I see it, arguing about how the Chinese government should or shouldn’t feel is ultimately meaningless. They have their interests and they’re going to protect them IN self-interest. It is rarely a persuasive argument to dictate what others should consider their interests and how they should go about protecting them. I think a lot of the low-level discussion over this issue is trapped on that level. You guys can talk about that until the end of time and you’re ultimately whining about others not seeing things your way or doing things the way you like it. No one is going to learn anything discussing that, because it is just everyone repeating what “they” want.

            So what could be something that people can learn from? I think maybe discussing the significance of foreign support (especially practical support like money and materials, not just “moral support”) in determining a person’s “threat” to the establishment and its interests. How much is the Chinese government’s concern over Liu due to his ideas? How much is it due to his influence? How much is it due to how foreign assistance may amplify his influence? And so on.

            It’s easy to simply disagree with the Chinese government’s treatment of Liu, but I think trying to figure out exactly WHY the Chinese government is treating him this way is far more useful, even especially for Chinese people who share Liu’s ideas. What is the Chinese government sensitive to, and in what measure? A Chinese netizen who criticizes the Chinese government on the internet or even demands democracy isn’t likely to get harassed these days. How much criticizing and complaining does he have to do before he gets some special attention? What else can he do to really irk the government? There are plenty of people in China expressing dissent or calling for human rights yet aren’t being locked up for 11 years. What made Liu special? Special enough for the government to target him? Or even to make an example out of him?

            Again, maybe I’m misunderstanding pug_ster’s position, but I do think allegations of foreign influence or support are important. I don’t want people to be thinking “well, it doesn’t matter because ‘our’ support should always be welcome and seen as ‘good’.” Sorry, just not that simple, especially in geo-politics. Forget about your agreement with Liu’s politics for a moment and let’s discuss whether or not foreign assistance made him more “dangerous” in the eyes of the powers he challenged.

          • @Kai Pan – Judging by the wording of Liu’s conviction, the purpose of Liu’s imprisoning was to discourage people specifically from advocating political reform. The law exists as much a guide for behaviour as it does as a system for punishing wrong-doing, and in this case we must assume that the behaviour which caused Liu to be punished was that described in the verdict – writing and publishing criticisms of the chinese government.

            Had the government wanted to discourage people from working with overseas organisations, then the charges would have been directed to this.

          • FOARP,

            There are plenty of people in China expressing dissent or calling for human rights yet aren’t being locked up for 11 years. What made Liu special? Special enough for the government to target him? Or even to make an example out of him?

          • S.K. Cheung

            To KP:
            that was well said, certainly much better than any effort Pugster has shown us. I would guess that to be fairly close to his intent; and if it wasn’t, then it darn well should’ve been. He ought to throw up a “what KP said” jiffy quick to catch on your coattails.

            As you say, one can debate the justification for locking up Liu until we’re blue in the face. The CCP is going to do what’s best for number one. Whether that is congruent with what’s best for Chinese people is something that is also probably best reserved for another day.

            So foreign influence and support is a worthy topic of discussion, I think. But I don’t think it’s nearly as worthy a topic in a discussion about whether Liu’s work was deserving of a Nobel. For that, I think you actually have to look at the work itself.

          • Sau Lan

            pug_ster, you said “Liu Xiaobo doesn’t need to be encouraged to ‘spread democ­racy’ in China because there are certainly disen­franchised people with the Chinese government.”

            Are you saying Wen Jiabao is disenfranchised??

    • Bill Rich

      No you don’t get your money back, not from Uncle Sam anyway. You should ask that from PRC, your current employer, for your wages of sin.

  3. xian

    Did Fauna say she wasn’t going to make a post about it? I assumed she’d make one in the next few days or something…

  4. song of the article,

    I need a Hero
    -Bonnie Tyler

    I posted this on my QQ, so far no comments or censor

    yall should read some of these 50c comments on the net right now…..


  5. I was one of the people expressing (mild) disappointment that ChinaSMACK hadn’t done a piece on the Nobel Prize. I don’t support any heavy criticism of Fauna over this, her reasons for not doing so are obvious. All the same, in view of what ChinaSMACK has published in the past, I think they might still have managed to mention it in some way.

    • The extent of “political” topics or speech that chinaSMACK posts has almost always been squarely within the realm of whatever is already popularly muttered by the masses and tolerated by the government in China, often very generalized complaints about corrupt local officials and rich people, wealth disparities, etc. all stuff that is pretty mainstream in Chinese civil society. Liu Xiaobo, 1989 protester and democracy advocate? Way outside that. Han Han, yes. Liu Xiaobo, definitely not.

  6. Dage

    Considering the new millienial stance of the Peace Prize Committee to award failure such as with Obama, Carter and Gore, I’m somewhat relieved that Liu Xiaobo was given the prize. Now we know his Quixotic will go nowhere.

    Imo he is emblematic of his generation. An entire generation of failures and cowards. They were the primary enablers and enforcers for Mao as his Red Guard. Then as his victims. When they finally tried to stand up for themselves, they backed down like cowards they were and sacrificed the lives of the younger generation for their own self-preservation at Tiananmen.

  7. KLS

    My understanding of the situation is this:

    1. chinaSMACK translates and publishes what the average Chinese netizen is talking about.
    2. The average Chinese netizen isn’t talking about this because the government isn’t letting anyone report it, text message about it, etc.

    So if the average Chinese netizen isn’t talking about it, there’s nothing for Fauna to translate or publish.

  8. S.K. Cheung

    ChasL might be someone other than Charles Liu. He/she might be Peter Pan, perhaps. But as FOARP notes, the ChasL comment is right in one particular Charles Liu’s wheelhouse. And there’s a similar comment on another English language China blog that reads much like the ChasL comment here, attributed to one “Charles Liu”. Perhaps that “Charles Liu” is also Peter Pan. On the internet, who knows really, right.

    But what I find most useful about the “ChasL” type comment is that it disparages the individual (in this case Liu Xiaobo) without so much as a mention or a consideration of the merits of his work. That, to me, is plain unadulterated laziness.

    I agree with others, that a lack of mention of this event on other sites is more a reflection of Chinese internet censorship than upon anyone’s work. If and when a Chinese person in China who is adequately penitant towards the CCP wins a Nobel, I imagine internet discussion of same would be freely tolerated, and then it will appear on some of those other sites in question.

  9. “China expresses its dis­plea­sure in its fairly unique way and the West and West­ern media cheers — and jeers — louder.”

    I think this seriously downplays the wider implications of how a globally influential dictatorship is going to react when faced with something it doesn’t like – be it territorial, political, economic, military, whatever.

    There are many potential positives to come out of this entirely justified award, and one of them was exposing the insecurity and churlishness of the Chinese government’s response to the Nobel Committee’s announcement.

    Was it a predictable outburst? Yes.

    Was it reasonable or intelligent on any level? No.

    If they could have prevented Liu Xiaobo from receiving a Nobel the Chinese government would have done it. They tried bullying and, thankfully, on this occasion at least, that strategy failed. Sadly, it hasn’t always failed for them.

    China now carries enormous global clout, and anyone who cares for their rights to express themselves freely in the near future would do well to be less casual about Beijing’s petulant attitude to the dissenting voice, which now impacts far beyond Chinese shores.

    • Slam

      Very well said. Especially; “China now car­ries enor­mous global clout, and any­one who cares for their rights to express them­selves freely in the near future would do well to be less casual about Beijing’s petu­lant atti­tude to the dis­sent­ing voice, which now impacts far beyond Chi­nese shores.”

    • “clout”? The politburo is decades away from what has been achieved by the “common” Chinese expat – let alone anything out of Moscow or D.C.

  10. colin

    So how long before the hardliners in the CCP kill off the reformers over this? Just like they did after the ’89 protest.

  11. Type Two

    I think that if more people know about “Old Spice Guy” than any jailed human rights activist or dissident then it IS a tragedy.

    • I’m pretty damn certain more people know about Old Spice Guy than any jailed human rights activist or dissident. You can replace Old Spice Guy with any other major internet celeb and it would still be true.

  12. Type Two

    It must feel really bad to live in a place where, when expressing your opinion, you must fear for your safety from those in positions of authority. I feel sorry for Fauna and all the Chinese people that live on the mainland that cannot participate within the same realm as the rest of the world because of the unfair treatment they receive from the government. Maybe more political martyrs like Liu Xiaobo are what China needs right now in order to get the ball rolling with human rights development. The condition of human rights in China certainly have improved over the past several decades and I’m sure will continue to do so as China moves into the future. But, for all those silent, would-be Liu Xiaobos out there today, the sooner the better.

    • I don’t think Fauna or most Chinese people want your pity. I think they want a basic level of understanding of their situation and the respect that ought to come from that understanding. Remember, a large part of the reason why the Chinese people haven’t overthrown their government is precisely because it doesn’t feel THAT bad to live there for the vast majority of the people. It is still quite rare to fear for your safety over an expressed opinion.

      Now, I know what you mean, but I think you come across as excessively patronizing and that’s one of the main reasons there is such a “divide” between Chinese and foreigners over many contentious issues. In fact, the “maybe more political martyrs like Liu Xiaobo are what China needs right now” reminds me of Chai Ling. I mean, how would you feel if someone came at you and said more of you need to die or suffer because it would be “good” for you and your kind? Know what I mean?

      • Type Two

        From what I can tell Chinese people are in pain, but they don’t know they are in pain… They just accept their reality for what it is because they don’t know any better. Some intellectuals do know better, and like Liu Xiaobo, some are brave enough to make an attempt to do something about it.
        Certainly there are people in China who feel the way you do that things really aren’t that bad. The situation or condition of those people might be considered well-off when compared to others within that system. However, their condition is not representative of the vast majority of mainland Chinese people – those that live in the undeveloped countryside.

        • King Tubby

          Type Two.
          “From what I can tell Chinese people are in pain, but they don’t know they are in pain….”

          Jeer, smirk, snigger etc at this medico-psycho-babble drivel. (The joy of owning a shelf of Self Help books.)

          Two points.

          I think the jury is still out as to whether the majority of people in China are clamouring for political rights as articulated by public intellectuals such as LX.

          I have already identified quite a few basic human rights obtained since the 1980s, basic things revolving around female equality, freedom to marry the person of your choice, religion and an improving standard of living.

          Second point, and I can be flamed if I am wrong. Despite widespread pissed-off-ness with corruption, rich/poor divide, you can generally characterise the average individual in China as being ***aspirational***… ie holding a strong belief that thru hard work, risk taking and guanzi, that they are capable of improving their material circumstances and that of their children.

          • Jones

            KT, your last point, though seemingly (to me) true, I’ve also noticed equal parts dejectedness with how the system works. Usually in the exact same people who are optimistic about it. One day it’s “I’m going to open my own shop”, next day it’s “someone without Guanxi, like me, doesn’t stand a chance in China” and back again.

          • King Tubby

            Thanks Jones. Im just trying to open the debate up a bit here.

            This take no prisoners, lets eat pug_ster exchanges are sort of going nowhere. (I know, Im also guilty, but we are now at post 87.)

            I now feel that I have some strange (not my usual) allies here.

            Time to be a warrior and time to build ploughshares.

            You do identify a contradiction and one worth exploring. Cheers.

          • Type Two

            As someone coming from the other side of the divide – the developed western world – I can see that people in China are suffering needlessly at the hands of the system that controls them.
            After an earlier point I made, if people in China were not in fear of the authority of the system that controls them then it is without question that they would shout out their concerns when informed and unrestrained. They have done it before, and they do it now even knowing they face death or suffering. Most, however, accept the situation of hard work with little reward, risk with little chance of success, and guanxi manipulated into a doorway to servitude and corruption, because thats the reality they are used to. Because that is life for most people in China.

          • King Tubby

            Type Two. Such emotive language which takes us exactly NOWHERE.

            I think that if you had been trolling this site as long as the majority of folk here, you will find that a significant number do come from **the developed Western world** and have also spent significant time in China. Myself: long tour of duty.

            A bit of analytical (not emotive) thinking, a degree of critical empathy, plus a good dose of factual information really helps. Trust me, and then folk will start to take your posts seriously. Personally, I think you would be a lot more comfortable on chinasmack. Just a suggestion.

          • Jones

            I aim to please. I don’t know if it’s some strange Eastern way of thinking that I haven’t yet gotten my head around or what. I always considered it a kind of depressive hope. Like they had their heads in reality but their hearts in a realm of magical Slumdog Millionaire hope.

            As for the issue of clamoring for human rights, I think it follows the same sort of situation. I’ve heard several people mutter a few words along the lines of either hating Communists outright, or talking in disgust of news being blocked, corruption, one-party system, etc. However, at the same time, there’s no talk of wanting or hoping someone will do something. I think most of China wouldn’t mind and would probably welcome freedoms like speech, expression, rights of the press…and definitely an end to corruption…but also understand that it’s slowly but surely changing for the better. So they just sit back and slowly float along in the Lazy River only worrying about their personal intertube. Really it’s not that different from most places in the world, at least the US, with the exception that we can openly complain about it and send letters to Congress without risk of arrest so long as it’s not laced with Anthrax. If that’s a good or bad thing is up to oneself to decide.

    • Simon Ningbo

      The problem is, in my opinion that even educated, intelligent Chinese with an excellent command in English aren’t interested in truly informing themselves, they use their VPNs and Proxys for Porn and Facebook, not to access media and information. I attend what is probably the best English speaking University in China, and we had a very brief and pointless discussion about the nobel price and its meaning for China. Literally all the Chinese students (of International Business Communication mind!) thought that Liu Xiaobo was a dissident and against China. When asked if a single person actually read chapter 08 or informed themselved about the topic from non-Chinese sources they all replied negatively… The professor didn’t know what to do with these students.. they are meant to be the best of the best, all with an excellent command of English, but not a single one of them actually informs themselves about such matters apart from hearing about it on CCTV..
      It was a depressing lecture, as long as even the brightest and most internationally minded students are brainwashed media-illerates I can’t see any positive change when it comes to political maturity.
      Oh and just because you’re (as a Chinese) generally satisfied with the performance of the CCP and support them doesn’t mean you have to stay ignorant about things concerning China. And having only a single source of information is almost worse than knowing nothing when it comes to politics.

      • I can’t agree with such a generalization.

        1. There are plenty of people out there who are educated, intelligent and have an excellent command of English who can be accused of not being “interested in truly informing themselves.” Porn and Facebook > Politics. This isn’t just common sense, it’s written in the Bible somewhere.

        2. Informing themselves of what, exactly? Isn’t it possible — even probable — that many people aren’t interested in informing themselves of things they don’t deem sufficiently relevant to their existence? The key here is not whether or not you think it is relevant to their existence, but whether or not THEY think it is relevant. And then you ask why they feel the way they do, as opposed to jumping to judging them as not being “interested in truly informing themselves.” If nothing else, is it possible that they just don’t share the same passion you have for politics? Maybe they’re totally keen on currency values and balances of trade (both political subjects) but not agitating for political reform of the democratic variety?

        3. I’m not actually surprised by Chinese university students in a Chinese university within the People’s Republic of China echoing the government line on Liu Xiaobo and Charter 08 when asked. I’m not going to argue that they were all lying, but I do think it would be in their best interests to not openly profess to reading and supporting someone who is serving 11 years in jail for “subverting” the government. You can call them cowards but it’s kind of hard to understand their considerations if you’re not one of them, a Chinese national, a young aspirational university student in “what is probably the best English speaking University in China” with his entire future ahead of him in a country with solid economic growth prospects.

        4. I think it is depressing for you to jump so quickly to the conclusion that they are brainwashed media illiterates. Why are Chinese people who don’t share the same political beliefs or who don’t attach the same importance to politics so commonly and so quickly accused of being brainwashed? I mean, what’s the goal here? Are you trying to get them interested in the politics you feel is important? Do you want them to care? Is calling them brainwashed going to help you to get them to care, to become so-called media literates, to stop using Facebook like the 500 million other people out there and find some blocked political blog or something?

        5. Who exactly is arguing that satisfaction with the CCP means they “have to stay ignorant about things concerning China”? Why do you even think that? What, caring about Liu and Charter 08 is the key indicator of how much someone knows about things concerning China?” Are you serious?

        6. And trotting out the “single source of information” line? Are you serious? How do you know that? You don’t, you assume it. It fits with the brainwashed narrative that is so convenient to slap onto them, doesn’t it? Sure, some, even many, could be guilty of it, but do you really know? There is less know and more eagerness to believe because it reaffirms you of your identity as being different, more “literate”, even “better” than them. Look, there are reasons behind them not sharing your position on and enthusiasm for something you care about. For some, it may very well be the reasons you’re ascribing to them, but how is that conclusion going to help you? How is it going to “help” them?

        • Simon Ningbo

          That was a sorry excuse of a reply Kai Pan, really.
          You replied at lenght without actually saying one thing, and you obviously did not properly read my post either.
          1) It’s an English speaking Western University in China, not a Chinese university. They can speak openly about subjects and challenge official viewpoints, neither the students or professors have to self-censor themselves (too much). Point in case: there are lectures about media censorship in China..
          2) being media literate and knowledgeable about world affairs is part of their studies, so there’s no excuse for not knowing such things.
          3) Having an opinion (that of the CCP) without secondary sources of information is inexcusable for students of International Business Communications taking courses in Political Economy. That is the whole point, they have an opinion which exactly mirrors the official viewpoint without actually bothering to inform themselves or even read the primary sources (Chapter 08). I clearly stated that having this opinion is no problem nor is it objectionable, what is bad is that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

          The rest of your reply is just silly so I won’t go into that, judging from the votes some others would probably agree.

          • Simon, I said plenty but I can’t force you to acknowledge them. Oh well.

            1) You said “best English speaking University in China”, not “Western University in China”. I don’t think my understanding was unreasonable. Even so, they’re still under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government. You’d be naive to think otherwise. My point still stands.

            2) Of course there is. It’s the same excuse as everywhere else, for university students everywhere. All of them have curriculum that advocates becoming media literate and knowledgeable about world affairs but how many are and about all world affairs? You said you attend that university as well, right? I’m certain I can find a topic for which I can apply the same criticism to you. If you haven’t understood yet, my point is that you’re jumping to unreasonable characterizations.

            3) How do you know they don’t have secondary sources of information? You’re assuming so based upon your prejudice of their disagreement with you as only possibly coming from one source. You’re operating on the mistaken assumption that “if only they knew this or if only they read this, they would certainly think like me instead of how they think now.” You’re making an arrogant assumption of how compelling the information on “your” side is. Ever consider that they might genuinely disagree with you and for any number of reasons? This is again a symptom of the “they’re brainwashed” narrative you clutch to in order to make sense of their possible disagreement with you. You have to avoid that.

            I’m not arguing against reading primary sources, Simon. I’m arguing against your eagerness to jump to certain trite conclusions about your peers. I don’t think judging them on what they’re going to say publicly within China is enough to damn them as not being “interested with truly informing themselves.” There are confounding factors that may influence their expression in China that you have to account for. You need to win their confidence and they have to feel safe in opening up to you. Think of it as an experiment and how you control for other factors to get the real data you need to arrive at scientifically rigorous conclusions. You’re jumping to conclusions. Have they read it? Why not? Why won’t they? If they have, what do they think? would they tell you the truth? Why or why not? If they haven’t, again, why not? Do the reasons then suggest that they’re not interested in informing themselves or does it suggest something else?

            The rest of your reply is just silly so I won’t go into that, judg ing from the votes some oth ers would prob a bly agree.

            LoL, are you seriously trying to make this into a popularity contest?

          • Simon Ningbo

            Kai Pan, you’re still not reading what I wrote.
            I explicitly said it’s ok and perfectly valid to disagree, but you need to know what you’re talking about.
            I also stated that it’s they themselves who said that they didn’t inform themselves from secondary sources nor read the primary source, I am not “assuming so based on my prejudice”, that’s your own fabrication.
            The rest of your arguments go along the same lines, you’re attacking a strawman. If you reread what I initially wrote you can clearly see that it’s not the disagreement with their opinions that disheartened the professor (and us Internationals) but their blissful ignorance on the topic, despite being so outspoken in their criticism of the person. Not a single one of them could answer inquisitive questions from the prof to find out why exactly they think so. Blindly following the governments’ official line without a clue is pretty brainwashed I think. And mind, I had many good discussions with Chinese scholars and students, I just tried to highlight that those students who should know the most about these issues often have no clue, if my University is any indication, and that this is exactly the problem as others have highlighted.

          • Simon,

            What “opinion” are you referring to? Note that I’m not accusing you of disagreeing with Chinese people feeling that it is not THAT bad to live in China. I’m disagreeing with your generalizations that Chinese people “aren’t interested in truly informing themselves” simply because they didn’t seem to share your opinions on Liu and Charter 08 when asked in a university class in China.

            Second, I already addressed the confounding factors with their responses on whether or not they read from non-Chinese sources. As I said, given the sensitivity surrounding the issue, that someone is in JAIL for it, I’m not surprised. You’re taking it at face value. I already warranted that some, even many, of them may indeed be guilty of what you accuse (did I not?), but you’re not that stupid. Consider the circumstances.

            I never said that you or the professor or other “internationals” were “disheartened” by their disagreement, did I? I disagreed with your rush to jump to the conclusion that they are “brainwashed media illiterates”. Who is the one that needs to reread what who wrote and who is the one attacking a straw man?

            their blissful ignorance on the topic, despite being so outspoken in their criticism of the person.

            How were they outspoken? Did they bring up the subject? No, the professor did, to a group of young Chinese nationals inside China with a vested interest in protecting their futures. They’re not like you, Simon. Like Fauna, they don’t have a foreign passport and government to protect them from getting mixed up with Liu and Charter 08. So yet again, I’m not surprised by their responses. And really, what characterizes their public “ignorance” as “blissful” anyway?

            How do you know they are “blindly” following the government’s line versus toeing the government’s line in self-interest and self-preservation? I brought all of this up already. It is your eagerness to assume brainwashing over self-interest that leads me to accuse you of assuming based upon your own prejudice.

            You are making faulty assumptions about the students who “should know the most about these issues” based upon how they respond in uncontrolled situations. It’s like asking a husband if he’s ever cheated right in front of his wife. Even if he has, there’s a high probability that he’s not going to admit it. A more nuanced situation is breaching contentious political subjects with people who are distrustful of your motives and intent. You know this, don’t you? Or do you really think people are always going to say what they really think? That they don’t tailor their answers to the circumstances or to how they feel about the other person?

            I’m asking you to consider these factors before jumping to generalizations about how “interested” they are in “truly informing themselves”. The “they’re brainwashed” narrative is such a cop-out. There is enough evidence of Chinese people, especially educated Chinese people, being capable of thinking critically about politics. No one is denying that there is plenty of evidence that there are plenty of educated Chinese people who aren’t, but why the rush to judge when there are so many confounding factors to consider?

      • Jones

        More of my less privileged/educated Chinese friends brought up prize, distaste in how the government handled the news, etc than my more “worldly” Chinese friends. Of course only three people total brought it up, so that’s still not a big pool to judge from, but still. But yeah, if I had a lot more options laying ahead of me than the usual peasantry, I’d be less likely to speak up and get myself into trouble.

        I don’t know what Liu Xiaobo’s prospects were like before he got involved with pressing reform, but he’s definitely more brave than I could ever be. Foreign money or not, he still risked his neck and sacrificed a lot to promote progress in human rights for Chinese people (and by example anyone else without adequate rights), which is why I believe he deserves the prize. I’d rather be poor and quietly taking in the oppression than foreign-money-wealthy and sitting in a Chinese prison for 11 years with the government harassing my wife.

      • Slam

        This is a trend I’ve noticed too. A sort of willful blindness, if I may be permitted. I hope that Kai Pan is right in that those students didn’t want to voice support because of where they were. That would be a sliver of hope.
        But unfortunately, even among Chinese nationals in the West, one can see this same, almost philistine like, attitude towards ideas of democracy and freedom, pug_ster is a case in point.
        The fact that pug_ster, given that he lives in the USA, still thinks that the content of Charter 08 is propaganda can only be described as depressing.

        One last point: When are Chinese nationals going to understand that Anti-communist dictatorship DOES NOT equal anti-Chinese or anti-China?
        The CCP has worked for a long time to fuse the two and it’s galling to see so many educated Chinese fall for that.

        • pug_ster


          I have never mentioned that I am against democracy or freedom in general. The problem is the person who is trying to present it, like GWB being the spokesperson for freedom in Iraq or Tiger Woods to lecture us on the morality of marriage. Liu Xiaobo’s view of colonialism views of Hong Kong and him being at odds with the government is the worst kind of spokesperson to be preaching freedom and democracy in China. So based on his past ‘deeds’ and being funded by the American government, he seems to be preaching American propaganda, even if he seems to be preaching ‘freedom and democracy’ in charter 08.

          • Slam


            1) His views on things do not make him the worst kind of spokesman on those things.
            2) His past “deeds” arent “crimes”, they only validate his message.
            3) He isnt funded by the American govt. To say this shows how ignorant you are of him and his message.

            But here is the thing, even if all of those things were true, it doesnt mean that what he is saying in Charter 08 is not true or not good. Hell, even if it were “American propaganda” what if it was good, true and correct propaganda?
            Again, and it’s telling that you never respond to this, have you or have you not actually read Charter 08? If not, do so, and tell me EXACTLY what is “propaganda” and not appropriate for China?

            What is it about the actual content of Charter 08 that you hate so much? Forget about who wrote it or where it came from, tell me about Charter 08, the actual words.

          • S.K. Cheung

            Those “colonialism” views are 22 years old, and you know this because you’ve been to that other blog that had a post documenting it, about which you left a comment. Can people be held to their 22 year old words with no accounting for what has transpired in the interim? Rather selective on your part, don’t you think?

            Obviously, his advocating for freedom and democracy in CCP China would put him at odds with the CCP. That is totally circular as an argument for him being an unsuitable spokesperson for democracy. You have got to be kidding me with that kind of logic. If he wasn’t at odds with the CCP, then either he would have to preach authoritarianism or the CCP would have to preach democracy. Unbelievable.

            To Slam:
            good luck getting Pugster to actually talk about the Charter. So far, he has shown a far greater preference for talking about everything except the Charter. But I guess the reach should exceed the grasp, as they say.

          • Jones

            Specific evidence of American propaganda in Charter 08. Not references to Hong Kong and then NGO funding. We want to know the lines in Charter 08 that are specifically American propaganda. Now is your chance to shine.

          • pug_ster


            About Charter 08, I read the summary of it in wikipedia. I have not read the charter 08 in its entirety, but after reading a few sentences of it and glancing at the rest, it looks to me like rant and ravings of a mad man. You probably disagree but that’s what I think. But what I get in the summary is that Liu Xiaobo’s Charter 08 is more like some kind of manifesto challenging China’s constitution, it does not address its complex laws, rules and policies within China that follows along after China’s constitution was created. Therefore, I think talking about charter 08 is totally irreverent.


            As for Liu Xiaobo’s ‘colonism’ views. He was asked the same question in 2007 and he did not want to take back what he said in 1988. In fact if you read more in the article, his views are so much out from the Chinese mainstream is another reason why I think he is simply not a credible person to begin with, rather someone who wants to appear with good intentions but have ulterior motives.

          • pug_ster

            I just want to say that the post in eswn is not an article, rather an opinion which I agree.

          • So, what you’re telling us is, you haven’t fully read Charter 08. You can’t actually give us an example of something in it which is “American propaganda”.

            Pug_ster, if you want to counter an argument with which you disagree, you must first properly engage with that argument. So, for example, I have read all of the verdicts against Liu Xiaobo and Guo Quan. If, on the other hand, you wish to simply dismiss Charter 08 as unimportant, then you must explain why the government has gone to such lengths to attack it and its drafters.

          • Slam

            Oh 小 pug_ster,
            You are pretty amusing. I’m beginning to feel that you are being sincere with some of your honest answers. So maybe there is hope for you yet.
            For example you actually admit that you haven’t read Charter 08 but rather read a summary of it. You then describe it as obviously the rantings of a mad man.
            Well, I suggest you bow out of the conversation because you are obviously in over your head.
            But, for the record, if you SERIOUSLY think that the actual contents of Charter 08 are the writings of a mad man then I dont think you can be taken seriously anymore because you’ve obviously soiled yourself intellectually.

            At this point, the only way to redeem yourself is to try this again. This time, read the whole damn thing, earnestly and honestly and come back tell us of, either your change of heart, (please, I hope so) or your new found reasons for rejecting such things as freedom of speech etc. (It’s a fast read, it should only take you about 15 to 20 minutes.)
            Have you read the Chinese constitution? I suggest you do that too. You may realize that it has a lot of good sounding things in it too. The problem is that the CCP ignores them often times. What many of these dissidents are asking for is for the CCP to actually OBEY what is written in the constitution. Doesn’t that sound reasonable?

          • pug_ster


            It is obvious by the first paragraph when you read by charter 08 that it is American propaganda because it is just words and no substance. I get turned off reading propaganda and that’s why I glanced at it.

            If you want to read several of his ‘writings’ while being president of the Independent Chinese Pen Center about Iraq during 2003-2004, here are some links.


            FYI, I take no credit of the person who discovered these links. I don’t know about you, but this is only American Propaganda that GWB would be proud of.

          • Slam

            Oh pug_ster,
            You disappoint me so.
            So that’s it then, the dialog is over. You refuse to actually read Charter 08. It is very telling and embarrassing too. Think about it, you won’t even READ it.
            Anyway, as for your links, my Chinese is not good enough to go through it right now. If someone wants to comment about them I’m happy to hear about it, or if there is an English translation, even better. But what does it have to do with Charter 08?
            But even if LXB was writing in favor of the Iraq invasion, which is what you seem to be implying, it doesn’t mean Charter 08 is incorrect. You keep trying to link things he may have said or not said in the past but as I and others keep telling you, the issue is about Charter 08.
            Don’t you see? Maybe he was misinformed about Iraq, maybe he was totally wrong about that or Hong Kong or something else, maybe he even has weird ideas about this or that but it doesn’t mean that his message about Chinese democracy and freedom of political speech is wrong.
            The fact that you stubbornly refuse to read Charter 08 and comment specifically about it shows that you are either scared of the ideas or scared of opening up your mind to such liberal thoughts. It really disqualifies you in terms of the whole conversation as far as I’m concerned.
            It’s so…..depressing. I can’t believe you wont even read it.

          • Jones

            What about the text makes it “American”? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I went back and read the opening paragraph that you said you read on Wikipedia, just to be sure. I found no mention of anything “mad” or “American”. I am sure that America, as a whole, appreciates you assuming that everything “freedom, equality, and human rights” is 100% American…but it’s not the case. The ideas, even if not completely implemented, were around long before any Redcoats were bayoneted.

            As far as funding, I got paid a decent amount by Holiday Inn, yet I’m not in here spreading around any propaganda about hotels. Even if they do have the best rooms for the best prices, and excellent holiday packages, along with the excellent Priority Club. You can earn points with each stay that don’t expire, and can earn free stay, airline miles, or use the points to buy products on the online store. For more, visit our website and sign up today!

          • S.K. Cheung

            To Pug:
            you know, sometimes there’s more to life than Wiki. Just as Coles’ Notes are meant to give you the quick hits; not to replace the real thing. You sure jump to a lot of pretty severe conclusions based on a rather tenuous grasp of the topic.
            I don’t know Sautman. But I’d rather read that 2007 interview than to get his summary of it. Sometimes, especially from people with his type of POV, the quoting gets a little selective and the context gets short shrift.
            I think the character assassination if a good angle. First, it was the funding. Now, gasp, Liu supported the Iraq War, and has a rather curious view of colonialism. Well sweet beejesus, he must be the devil in a blue dress. I think that would be a wonderful argument, if those “prior bad acts” turned up in the Charter. Now, since you haven’t read the thing, you couldn’t possibly know this, but they don’t.
            Here’s the other thing. Did anyone suggest that Liu should be voted the new leader of a democratic China? Even if you dislike the person, are you not capable of separating that sentiment from the evaluation of his ideas?

            As for the Charter being “all words/no substance”, to each his own. But you probably feel the same way about the CCP Constitution. With the latter, the best part is that they ignore it anyway.

            To Jones:
            you had me literally laughing out loud there.

          • pug_ster


            If you say I am using some kind of character assassination tactic to defame the ‘deeds’ of Liu Xiaobo, you are probably right. The Nobel Peace prize winner should be given to someone who spent a considerable time fighting for his/her cause which benefited many other people, but Liu Xiaobo did not. You might think his past thoughts or writings is not relevant, but I believe it does.

            All of you complain to me about ‘why don’t you read charter 08′ speech yet why don’t you guys prove me wrong by quoting in the excerpts in his charter? Or have you read it?

          • Jones

            It doesn’t work that way, pug_ster. You’re making accusations of it having an ulterior motive, of being American propaganda, etc. You need to prove this. Nice try, though.

          • pug_ster


            I don’t have to go out and ‘prove’ my opinions.

          • S.K. Cheung

            are you not familiar with Logic 101? If you say the Charter is laden to the gills with “American propaganda” and “ulterior motives” etc, then it behooves you to show us where. If those things are there as you claim, then surely it’s not too hard to show us. On the other hand, how can people “show” you that something ISN’T there? The only way would be for someone to cut and paste the entire Charter here (and I’m sure KP would be thrilled with an antic like that)…and even then, you’d have to read it to realize it isn’t there. We can’t place an “X marks the spot” when there is no spot to mark.

            Ok, on the next point, we’re making progress. You acknowledge most of this sideshow is character assassination. That’s more than Charles Liu would ever cop to. Are you applying the slime because Liu won the Nobel? He didn’t take it; it was given to him by others. So he deserves this because of someone else’s decision?

            Also, not only has he spent considerable time fighting for his cause, he’s also doing considerable time as a result of it, as a guest of the CCP. And the CCP is preventing his work from having the chance to benefit the people. So if you have any slime left, perhaps you can save some for the CCP. But for them, Chinese people might see some of those benefits you crave.

          • pug_ster


            I’m going to ignore your straw man questioning and rants. Did I ever say that it is a fact beyond a reasonable doubt that it is propaganda? No. I have to say that some you seem to have some kind of ‘logical’ way of determining of how I should think or reason, which is hogwash.

          • S.K. Cheung

            LOL Pug. Didn’t we go through this earlier? If you’re going to “ignore” me, then just “ignore” me. You don’t have to tell me that you’re ignoring me. It’s not like you’ve been a fountain of answers to the questions posed to you so far anyway. But this isn’t Twitter, so we don’t necessarily need updates of what you’re going to do, let alone what you’re not going to do.

            You said it was “propaganda”; you never said “fact beyond a reasonable doubt”. I guess asking you to show us the basis for what you said suddenly became a legal question under oath in a court of law. Who knew?

            I couldn’t care less what you think. Don’t hold it in very high regard anyway, as you can probably surmise. But if you’re going to drag that stuff into the light of day, then I will happily shine a light upon it to reveal it for what it is….and isn’t.

          • Jones

            Pug_ster, saying that something “seems crazy” or “isn’t good for China” is an opinion. However, saying something is “American propaganda” is not an opinion. That’s a statement. You claiming something that is much, much bigger than you, something you claim is fact, and is therefore not an opinion. You must prove it. Stop trying to dodge it.

            “I have to say that some you seem to have some kind of ‘logical’ way of determining of how I should think or reason, which is hogwash.”
            Actually, you can determine if something is or isn’t American propaganda or not in a logical, verifiable way. See, propaganda isn’t just an adjective. It’s not an “opinion”. It’s information written, published, and distributed for a certain group, nation, religion, etc. If you are saying that this is American propaganda, you’re making a statement that the US told him what information to put into Charter 08, and had a part in every other aspect of it. This is something that you need to prove unless you want to be considered just another twerp making grand accusations without the means of backing them up. Your statement is more than just a statement of opinion and you know that.

            Now you’re calling people “trolls” because they suggest you need to back up your statements? Really, pug_ster? Really?

            Final assessment: pug_ster probably isn’t a 50 Cent Party warrior, but a very sensitive nationalist who can’t take even the possibility of the glorious motherland’s leaders from being wrong about someone they’ve locked up. At least not when any of those damn foreigners suggest it. As he called himself some discussion in the past, he fancies himself the “China Defender”, and as such do not expect any actual attempt at providing proof to what he claims. The end.

          • What pug_ster is basically telling us is that he does not have to use logic, that he does not need to read Charter 08 to decide what he thinks of it, that he can decide that something is propaganda without actually being able to say why. Put simply, pug, based on this I would never even let you fix my lawn mower, let alone influence my political views.

          • pug_ster

            You can try to slice and dice the term ‘propaganda’ but when different people read ‘charter 08′ people would get different opinions of it. Otherwise everyone would think the same. If you google ‘Glen Beck propaganda,’ you will see several suggestions for Glen Beck calling bleeding left liberals peddling propaganda. I’m sure several right wing people would disagree.

            You complain why I call SKC a ‘troll.’ His disappointing comment which has nothing to do with this topic and asked me to ‘express my opinion in front of a bathroom mirror’ instead. He made a trolling remark while others made far worse remarks about me like ‘you are like a dog con­tin­u­ally return­ing to your own vomit,’ yet they get a ‘+’ vote shows how out of touch some people are in here.

            While some of you guys claim that I haven’t read charter 08, none of you guys ever brought it up and what’s so significant or quote about it.


            Paulina Hartono read it (at least I believe she did) and this is what she has to say about it:

            First, because many of Liu’s ideas are rather broad-based, there is no settled understanding of what kind of human rights need to be discussed, or what China’s “entail[ed] increased responsibility” is. Nobody disagrees that China should have better human rights, not even its central government. The points of contention are which specific rights should be protected, how following legislation should be implemented, and in what time frame reforms must take place.

            This is the pretty same conclusion after I read it. I’m not here to fix your lawn mower nor am I here to convince you of my views of China. I’m expressing my opinions and the problem is that many people here seem to have the need for me to prove it.

          • Jones

            pug, I’m going by the definition of propaganda. I think we all are. If anyone is slicing and dicing it, it’s you.
            There’s the definition. Now, if you had said it’s his own propaganda, sure that’s fine. Liu Xiaobo Propaganda. It works. But, American propaganda? I am struggling to find America’s propaganda in Charter 08 and am waiting on you to show me where it is because you’re still claiming it to be American propaganda when several of us still can’t seem to find it. You hold the secrets to this conspiracy. Please enlighten us.

            As per the quote you offered…I’m not here to argue opinions. I’m here purely for the claim (again, it’s not an opinion) that Charter 08 is American propaganda. The quote or that entire article doesn’t seem to dive into that subject at all.

        • S.K. Cheung

          To Pug,
          obviously you don’t “have” to do anything. That’s a juvenile response. But if you are going to stroll around blogs and leave your opinion, gee, I dunno, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to justify/support them. I imagine that’s why most people hang around blogs like this. If all you seek to do is to be the proud owner of your own opinion, then surely that can be accomplished in the privacy of your own home…say in front of the bathroom mirror, for instance.

          • pug_ster

            Another person who seem to emotional to have a rational discussion, troll.

          • S.K. Cheung

            Call me what you want, Pug. I will leave it to others to decide who has logic on their side, and who is failing to grasp it. But if it’s getting too hot, it’s time for you to exit the kitchen. I just love asking questions of those who seem so utterly devoid of logic, let alone answers.

          • Slam

            +1 “That’s a juve­nile response.” Well said S.K. Cheung, that’s what we’re dealing with here.

        • S.K. Cheung

          LOL Pug. If you’ve resorted to comparing yourself to Glenn Beck, then I suppose that about says it all. Yes, Glenn Beck can throw around terminology without any regard for underlying substance, or lack thereof. So it stands to reason that Pug, as a fellow American, should be afforded the same privilege. Congratulations. You and Mr. Beck are peas in a pod.

          Of course you’re free to express your opinions. You live in America, after all. In fact, the threshold for being able to express you opinion is very low. A guy with a soapbox, a tin-foil hat, and an unoccupied street corner already has the requisite equipment to proceed with such expression. What would set you apart from that guy is to give us the basis for those opinions. But as you say, you don’t have to. Wouldn’t want to make this too onerous for you.

          • pug_ster

            Now where did I say that I compare myself to Glenn Beck, Mr Straw man?

          • S.K. Cheung

            To Mr. Illogical:
            you don’t have to “say” that you’re comparing yourself to Mr. Beck. By invoking Mr. Beck’s casual use of “propaganda” to justify your own, you’ve already done that. Your lack of capacity for a logical argument knows no bounds.

    • King Tubby

      Type Two. We have some pretty low standards on this site, but most draw the line at overt spectator side-line urging.

      (Fauna is fulfilling her mission statement and quite successfully.)

      Resigned shrug….these newly minted bridgeblog warriors.

  13. King Tubby

    pug_ster. You really are an obsessive.

    Last year it was the DL and Tibet ad nauseum.

    Why not make it easy for people and list the public intellectuals, East or West, whom you approve of.

    Basically, you should be stripped of your US citizenship, given 200rmb, a copy of the Karma Sutra and be deported to North Korea.

    So much anger. You are in heart attack territory.

    • King Tubby

      Apologies. Posting failure on my part.
      pug_ster. To quote my fave past PM Paul Keating, you are like a dog continually returning to your own vomit. Cheers KT.

    • pug_ster

      Great, while a good number here sympathize Liu Xiaobo going to jail for 11 years, you don’t seem to have a conscience of depriving my rights because I don’t agree with you. Some people here are really getting too emotional for a rational debate.

      • S.K. Cheung

        Huh? Who is depriving you of your rights? No one I can see here is questioning your right to speak. Though people do seem to have a lot of questions about what you’re saying. BTW, those 2 things are not the same. So not only is it ironic that you’re clamouring for your rights in comparison to Liu, but it is also woefully misguided.

        • pug_ster

          Read what King Tubby says:

          Basi­cally, you should be stripped of your US cit­i­zen­ship, given 200rmb, a copy of the Karma Sutra and be deported to North Korea.

          • S.K. Cheung

            Indeed, he is questioning your right to be a US citizen. He isn’t questioning your right to speak. My mistake for referring to the wrong “right”, and for not realizing you were replying to him rather than as a stand-alone comment.

  14. S.K. Cheung

    Liu Xiaobo was convicted of a crime, and sits in prison. The transparency of the Chinese legal system aside, I ‘get’ that at least on “convict does time” level. But his wife Liu Xia is under house arrest. She’s not been convicted of anything. As far as I know, she hasn’t even been charged with anything. And to my knowledge, she didn’t just win a Nobel. So I wonder why she’s getting the special treatment as well.

    Maybe NED’s been paying her too. Perhaps our resident NED experts can shed some light on the topic.

    • LoL at the last line.

      I think she’s getting the special treatment because she’s connected and involved, as well as a benefactor of any foreign support Liu is receiving. That it is house arrest instead charges, trial, conviction, and jail I think has to do with perceptions of how involved, connected, and influential she is vis a vis her husband. She may also benefit from simply being a woman with child. PR theatre and all that. In this area, I think the Chinese government has been open about using both “official” and “unofficial” persecution. The former sets examples, the latter scares those hoping for the former to make them a public martyr.

      • S.K. Cheung

        To KP:
        I agree that house arrest is a legitimate form of judicial punishment. But much like “jail”, judicial punishment is usually meted out after charges/trial/conviction. So my objection isn’t that she’s getting step 4; just that they haven’t bothered with steps 1-3. The Chinese “justice” system under the CCP is a whole other can of worms, but suffice it to say that they do enjoy emphasizing deterrence…more for some transgressions than others, of course.

        • Oh absolutely, I agree that it is “extralegal” or “unofficial” but that’s why I said the government has been pretty open about using such methods. I’m in objection just as much as you are. I’m just responding to you wondering why she’s getting special treatment. I think the answer is quite clear: because she’s involved and the government isn’t opposed to using unofficial methods of punishment.

          • S.K. Cheung

            To KP:
            well, the CCP has never been shy about creatively interpreting the laws that they created. It’s an art-form. But how is the wife involved, above and beyond being the wife. Do they have evidence that involves her, but aren’t charging her because of PR reasons as you suggest? If that’s the case, well, OK i guess. But if her involvement is limited to marriage, then that is one whopping guilt-by-association. It would be precedent-setting that the wives of convicts get automatic house-arrest, except we’re talking the CCP justice system, so precedents don’t amount to much either.

          • In their eyes, she’s involved for being supportive of her husband’s efforts, even representing him, as opposed to distancing herself from him. Loyalty to state before husband I’m sure. It isn’t just limited to marriage or simple guilt by association, I think that’s obvious.

          • King Tubby

            Kia. Your 1.52. Sounds like the cultural revolution. Fortunately, they don’t have children. Then the coercive possibilities would be endless. Even worse, she could be pregnant.

          • More to the point, they’re probably going to keep this up so that she cannot go to collect the prize.

          • Zuo Ai

            Soooo, you gonna do a piece on the canceling of the blogger convention?

  15. King Tubby

    Look, I sometimes find Kai’s step-by-step arguments and the conclusions he arrives at pretty annoying, but when we compare PRCs post 1980s record, he is making good points.

    Think about PRC today in contrast to most of the Islamic world, the other third of the globosphere, along side the West.

    Some broad brush stroke points.

    Womens rights, acceptance of other sexual orientations, women in business. Here China is an exemplar of enlightenment.

    Religious freedoms and treatment of minorities. Okay, okay, they are tightly controlled, but are not pogromed as is the Islamic norm.

    Sure, the CP and Chinas govt is autocratic and paranoid at times (LZ being an instance), but they seriously growing the economy and actively improving the standard of living for an increasing % of citizens.

    Look at the Islamic world. Infinitely more corrupt and authoritian, while producing bugger all except dried figs, unemployment/despair and disposable suicide bombers.

    Education. Madrassas don’t exactly prepare people for the global economy.

    You get the picture. In this particular context, China is doing pretty well indeed in the HR department, with or without Norway’s statement.

    Pls note Dividers. Not one reference to that really annoying buzzword * metrics*.

    • Bin Wang

      Haven’t commented much on this issue so far, but I’d like to note KT’s fine points. On many fronts, China is very progressive with regard to “Human Rights,” but of course, why focus on that …

      That said, also, I noted this CNN article this morning:

      Of course there are conservative and progressive voices within the Party. And we all know, it’s certainly not beyond the Party to do things just to spite Western pressure. That said, is it possible that Liu’s Nobel Peace Prize has, in fact, blunted the proposed reforms? It would be typically Beijing to send this message: meddle in our affairs and it gets worse, not better.

      I guess what i am trying to say is, although I do not necessarily disagree with the substance of the award, I do hesitate to endorse it from a “tact” point of view. I don’t know what impact the timing of these two events will have on each other, but I think the proposed reformed referenced in the CNN article are probably harmed by Liu’s receiving of the Prize.

      • Jones

        Yes, China has made great progress in women’s equality and making homosexuality not illegal, compared to the 1980s, at least. But, sad to say, Liu Xiaobo is still jailed for expression/petition/so on and his wife is under house arrest for seemingly no reason other than being his wife, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs flat out denies even knowing of her or her being put under house arrest. Struggling to see how these points are related to the status of Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize, and Beijing’s typical reaction, or even relevant at all?

        • Bin Wang

          Like I said … “why focus on that …”

          But that’s not the point of my commentary. Read the CNN Article, and note that my point was that Beijing will now never do anything which might even imply that the Norwegian giving of the Prize itself may have any causal connection whatsoever with Chinese policy. Whatever chances Liu had of release before, even if slim, are pretty much quashed now in the near term. And whatever chances progressive reformers had within the party are now also materially harmed, I think, in the near term. Beijing I think will not hesitate to play hardball with the West and make it a point to display the notion that “you meddle in our business, and it gets worse, not better … so butt out.”

          • S.K. Cheung

            To Bin Wang:
            when pushed from the outside, the Party will close up, simply out of political expedience. The CCP is nothing if not one to fan whatever nationalistic sentiment that already exists within. As you’ve said all along, the response in this case is not out of character. And indeed, the Nobel might even give them some political cover among Chinese people to screw Liu. However, as FOARP points out, there is a dissident who is like Liu, except for the foreign funding and Nobel win, yet sits in jail nonetheless. So on that level, foreign funding and “western” provocation (if you want to see the Nobel in that light) doesn’t seem to make much difference in how the CCP approaches people who engage in spirited criticism.

            We both have faith in what Chinese people are capable of. I don’t know about you, but I have no faith in the CCP’s capacity to relinquish power for the good of Chinese people, or at the request of CHinese people.

            I can see your point that the Nobel does not move things toward a solution. However, to rely on the problem to maybe hopefully eventually solve itself is also deeply unsatisfying.

          • S.K. Cheung

            Oops, put that in the wrong place. Sorry about that.

          • Bin Wang

            No worries. I admit, no real satisfying answers here, it’s a very tricky problem. As for me, I put my faith in gradual progressivity. In more leaders similar to Deng and Wen, in the hardcore old guard dying out to be replaced by modern progressives, and in an evolutionary-like process of the Party. I think the Party has evolved quite a bit already, people have more freedoms now than the could have imaged just a few decades ago. I think a little patience is needed here. With life’s basic needs met (better standard of living for the necessaries such as food, shelter, clothing, etc.), people is naturally look to additional rights as a matter of course, then it will be much easier for the people to voice the need for change in China. I think you see it now as we speak, perhaps not fast enough for many people … but patience.

            I think most Chinese believe this, which is why stability and economic growth is still number one in terms of how people evaluate today’s Party.

          • S.K. Cheung

            Here’s hoping that one day, if/when a Chinese person in China wins another Nobel Peace Prize, the Chinese government of the day will actually celebrate it, as opposed to the Pavlovian display we’ve seen on this occasion.

        • Except that the Nobel Prize already appears to have caused influential CCP members to issue a letter calling for reform:

          This would appear to support the argument that the positives of this award will outweigh the negatives.

          • Bin Wang

            FOARP — That link of yours must be discussing the same thing as the link of mine. The question is, was Liu’s prize causative of the open letter. Your link states that the 2 are not related. Which goes to my point. I don’t think that is support for the argument that the positives outweigh the negatives. In fact, it supports my point that given Beijing’s perception of Liu’s Prize as an “insult,” the open letter is now more likely to be met with hostility than before, because Beijing does not want to give the appearance that Liu’s Prize (i.e., Western pressure) may cause political change in China.

          • Sau Lan

            I would be just as interested in the causative issues between Wen Jiabao’s democracy bombshell and the open letter.

          • Sau Lan

            Or rather, “any causative issues.”

          • S.K. Cheung

            To Bin Wang,
            you pose a fair question ie will the Nobel make things better or worse? It’s difficult to know. It does seem reasonable to assume there will be CCP obstinence when it comes to these things (a la “western pressure”, “face”). So there may be a risk (to the length of Liu’s sentence; to the length of his wife’s house arrest; to the success of this letter proposing removal of censorship). But there may be a benefit, if it further raises awareness within China despite the best efforts of the GFW (and considering examples given on this board of university students in China being oblivious to it, there is room for raised awareness). Nonetheless, in the final accounting, who knows.

            But is it the Nobel committee’s mandate to have “tact”? It would require that they factor in the political sensitivities of the regimes in the home countries of potential candidates. They could. But should they? On the flip side, is someone less worthy of a Nobel if they happen to live in a country like China?

          • Bin Wang

            SK — You also raise a fair question. Perhaps Oslo’s mandate is merely “right is right, your sensitivities be damned.”

            You know, I don’t know whether the net-net will be an overall positive or negative, we’ll have to wait and see. But I have to imagine that the goal of Nobel Peace Prize is to help bring about positive change. Obama was given the prize precisely because of the desire to have the award give him impetus to bring positive change to the U.S. in the future during his presidency.

            Therefore, perhaps tact is needed and sometimes you have to know enough to say, to really be effective here against an obstinate regime, I have to work within the system, instead of launching head-on attacks against it. To this day, I think nothing assists Chinese in closing ranks behind the government better than public Western criticism. And that’s not what you want. You want the Chinese to question these things for themselves, and really at the end of the day, the CPC has more to fear from the inside than the outside. So the “outside” should surely not do anything which might help the “inside” to defend the government, rather than question it.

            So your point about raising awareness is a very valid one which may well be a large positive here. But the risk of Chinese obstinance in the face of Western Pressure is, as we recognize, a large potential negative. But I think Oslo has to recognize what the goal is, and consider at least, the potential of the award to move world events further away from, instead of closer to, that goal.

          • FOARP,

            I’m not nearly so hasty to think Liu’s Nobel is what inspired the “party elders” or “retired government officials” to issue their call for reform. I’m not saying there isn’t a possibility, but I don’t think there’s any solid evidence to make that causal relation. Just as Sau Lan mentioned, I think the same could be said for recent remarks made by Wen both at home and abroad, even on CNN. I’d even say there is a stronger relation to Wen, given that he’s a popular, well-liked high government official currently in power, and that it’s easier to issue such a call when you have clear public signs of sympathy and support in high levels of the government. As many have already noted, for Wen to say such things also suggests that he’s not the only one in the government with those leanings. My predisposition is that Liu’s Nobel has very little to do with the open letter, but it isn’t impossible of course. I just think trying to piggy back on Liu makes less sense and has less chances of success against the more conservative hard-line elements of the Party than Wen.

          • S.K. Cheung

            To Bin Wang:
            you raise a good point with Obama’s win. Certainly, the Nobel committee is willing to focus largely on “upside” in making its award. Of course, whether it chooses to exercise such willingness is entirely its prerogative, from one year to the next, such that focusing on upside one year doesn’t obligate them to do so every year thereafter. Also, we should remember that this is not Oslo’s mandate, nor Norway’s mandate, and certainly not “the West’s” mandate; this is the Nobel committee’s mandate. So all of this is politicization of a private award. Now of course, the Nobel Peace Prize in particular lends itself to such politicization. But if the objection is about the politicization of the award, then should the objection be directed to the owners of the award, or toward those who choose to politicize it?

            Perhaps the owners are not entirely blameless, since there is an element of foreseeability there. But I think the bulk of the blame should rest with the latter group. In this case, in no uncertain terms, that would be the CCP.

            Liu wins the award. The CCP cancels a ministerial level meeting with Norway about some fishing thing, I believe. The usual huffing and puffing about messing with her “internal affairs”. Which group is responsible for making a political fuss over a private award?

            Also, there’s the “slippery slope” issue. Where do you draw the line? First, an outspoken CCP critic in China can’t win the Peace. Then can a similar CCP critic win in Physic or Math? Can a professed CCP critic win an Oscar? Or a Pulitzer? Then there’s the counterpoint. If the Nobel’s ultimate objective is to suck up to China, should they view in a more favourable light those who happen to think that the CCP is the beacon of light? Heck, they should pencil in Hu Jintao for next year’s prize now.

            I think ultimately, one controls what one can control. The Nobel committee should realize what is within their control. And they should realize that the petulant children in the CCP aren’t.

          • Bin Wang

            All valid enough points SK — But at the end of the day, it’s the Chinese that have to deal with the CPC, not the Norwegians, not the “West,” not the Prize Committee. To that end, and as a Chinese-American interested in China’s welfare, the pragmatist in me tells me that Liu’s award hurts the greater good more than it helps.

            The Committee surely can do whatever it wants. But as you admitted, the Prize is in fact very political and is, I would argue, meant to have political impact. I don’t have to be a Beijing suck-up to realize that.

            But overall, I didn’t say it was a clear win/lose either way. I just think there’s some ramifications here which are entirely positive and I am on the fence. At the end of the day, the Prize Committee thinks I have oranges, but I know I’ve only got lemons and have to make lemonade instead of orange juice, and I think they’ve just taken away my sugar, because they think they’re doing me a favor (everyone knows 100% orange juice is best). Or, in the alternative, and perhaps overly severe … the path to Hell is paved with good intentions.

          • Bin Wang

            Correction: … which are NOT entirely positive …

          • “But at the end of the day, it’s the Chi­nese that have to deal with the CPC, not the Nor­we­gians, not the “West,” not the Prize Com­mit­tee…”

            Not so, Bin Wang. Quite the opposite, in fact.

            EVERYONE on the planet is impacted in some way by the Chinese government, if not on an economic level, then politically, diplomatically, territorially, militarily etc. With an economy expected to quadruple by 2030 – and the commensurate leverage that that will bring – these impacts are going to be felt around the globe.

            In the grand scheme of things awarding the NPP to LXB was small beer, but look at the way the Chinese government have deported themselves (not to mention the despicable act of incarcerating the hero of the hour in the first place) in the wake of last Friday’s announcement. If The Onion had written a spoof based on such a scenario they couldn’t have produced material as full of spite and petulance as the Chinese government’s response in the last few days.

            Now, imagine the boys (children, really) at Zhongnanhai with four times the leverage they currently have, taking their petty inclination for retribution and punishment to any individual, group, or nation that attempts to accommodate the notion of free expression, open discourse, or the dissenting voice.

            Both the potential prize and pitfalls are way bigger than China. It’s naive to believe otherwise.

          • Bin Wang

            stuart — I disagree and I, frankly, believe you’re the one that’s naive, though you may find that difficult to believe yourself!

            No doubt everyone is impacted, the entire world, is, of course. But the question is, what is more likely to help progressivity within China, Western pressure or internal pressure from progressive voices within the party and the populus. I firmly believe the latter, and in fact, think that former mostly serves to bolster the Party’s position in the minds of the populace. Regardless of why that is (you may say it’s because of a brainwashed people fed on nationalism, whereas I would find a historical-based mistrust to be entirely cognizable without any alleged “brainwashing”), the West pushes, and the Chinese close ranks and circle the wagons … that’s the way it is, and that’s the way it will be for the foreseeable future.

            That said, I believe that the positive of the award is mostly in bringing attention to Liu’s story TO CHINESE PEOPLE, who then can use that awareness to better inform themselves of growing progressivity within the country. However, that is still outweighed, I think, by the West-created political pressure that’s created by the award, and many Chinese, mostly those in or not in positions of power already-predisposed to conversative thought, will note that this is the same organization that award the Prize a while back to the DL, and react accordingly. (Make no mistake, Chinese people may well be more balanced in regarding Liu, but are SOLIDLY behind the government with regard to the DL and Tibet.)

            I don’t think we necessarily disagree on the problems here, and neither does Wen disagree with us, really … but the issue is the mode, origins, timing of the solution. Most Chinese people agree that change will come in time, and progress made, esp. as the last of the old guard dies out, but that it has to come from within, so for now, stability is the main goal … to bide time and develop economically for the next 10, 20, 30 years, to prepare for additional future reforms. There is some volatility here, and undue pressure is not at immaterial risk of causing reversal to increased nationalism and conversative Party politics. I, for one, am against those types of risks.

            But of course, I’ve explained all this to you before stuart, and you are who you are and I am sure we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

          • “…what is more likely to help pro­gres­siv­ity within China, West­ern pres­sure or inter­nal pres­sure from pro­gres­sive voices within the party and the pop­u­lus.”

            NEWSFLASH: While Liu Xiabo is the internal pressure of which you speak, to characterise the Nobel Committee’s decision to award LXB the NPP as ‘western pressure’ is plain daft. It does, however, echo the headlines we’ve seen emanating from certain CCP-sponsored publications. Go figure.

            And, btw, your ‘progressive voices within the populus’ have an alarming tendency to get themselves incarcerated for – wait for it – being progressive voices within the populus. You’re nailing your colours to the wrong mast if you think such violations of human rights should only draw commentary from within China. I told you; it’s bigger than that.

            It really stretches ironic incredulity that you should buy into the idea that freedom of expression in China is best served by the silence of others.

            It isn’t.

            The broader point of my previous comment was about the freedoms that the next generation – everywhere – are going to find trampled upon if Beijing can’t learn to give the dissenting voice airtime. The way I know I’m right about that is because Zhongnanhai spins three tricks of playground apoplexy every time (for example) an author they don’t like gets an invite to an international book fair.

            Your policy of silent appeasement is a non-starter.

          • Bin Wang

            Attack me all you want stuart, I still think you’re wrong. Western amplification of Chinese voices doesn’t amplify; it merely draws attention to nails the CPC needs to hammer down. For every Liu, there’s thousands of others that do work for progressivity, but within the system. Are they going to arrest everyone of those elder leaders who wrote the open letter? Are they going to arrest Wen himself??? I think not.

            Westerners taking up the flag is only going to create backlash, make no mistake about it. You’d love to pat yourself on the back thinking you’re doing some good when you’re actually doing harm. CPC re-trenchment back to conservatism in the face of Western dissent is quite predictable and in fact, will receive increased support because it’s at least spiting Western will and dictation for China, an attitude not uncommon amongst normal Chinese. Your failure to understand that, and Oslo’s, is your and Oslo’s problem, respectively. Luckily you are just a blog commenter. Oslo, unforunately has a *bit* more political sway, and that’s unfortunate.

            It’s not silent appeasement, it’s knowing what you can do and what you can’t, and knowing what in fact works but may take a while, as opposed to storming in guns blazing, but actually doing harm rather than good. Are you sure you’re not a fan of Bush’s pre-emptive strike on terrorists in Iraq … because to do otherwise would be “silent appeasement” a la Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” circa 1938? I’m afraid that’s a serious violation of Godwin’s Law. Point is, tact is not per se “appeasement” just because Chamberlain signed away Czechoslovakia …

          • Jeez, BW, way to build incoherence out of straw. I can only assume I touched a nerve or two.

            Guns blazing, ffs! A supremely intelligent, compassionate, and brave individual was honoured – quite appropriately – for his efforts to end China’s lamentable record of flouting the basic human entitlements enshrined in its constitution.

            A Chinese man stood up. Others recognised the fact, and still more applauded that recognition. And you seek refuge in the argument that all parties to the above sequence would better serve the cause of free expression by saying and doing nothing! Dude, get a grip.

            Tell me, BW. If it was within your power to release LXB and give him his voice, would you do it? Or would you keep him locked up and his wife bullied and harassed under house arrest? You seem to be of the opinion that his incarceration is a positive thing for Human Rights and free speech in China. I’m just asking.

            Bottom line is you’re too heavily invested in the ‘west is always trying to tell China what to do’ narrative that is very successfully peddled by a staggeringly immature Beijing. Plus, you have a persistent blind spot for the wider implications of what China considers to be acceptable discourse. They’re already beginning to leverage restrictions on freedoms overseas, a trend that is unlikely to be ended by silent ambivalence.

          • S.K. Cheung

            To Bin Wang:
            You have faith in Chinese people to discover things for themselves; to forge progress from within; to be the spark, engineer, and conveyor for change in China. I absolutely agree with that.

            You feel that the CCP has much more to fear from within than without. I completely agree. I mean, let’s face it, no one is going to war with China…hopefully ever. And one reason why the CCP spends so much time and effort to preserve a cocoon around Chinese people is probably in a futile hope that her people will never be enabled enough to rock the boat.

            I have utmost confidence in Chinese people. But the problem wasn’t, isn’t, and won’t be Chinese people. The problem is the CCP. Suffice it to say that I have much less faith in them, and would trust them only as far as I can throw them.

            If there are Chinese people in China who sympathize with Liu’s message but disapprove of his methods, that’s understandable. If there are Chinese people in China who want to see progress on their terms but without outside influence, I respect that. Bottom line, if Chinese people were at the wheel, and they decide that some paths do not represent the right way, i would obviously defer to them, since they know their situation better than anyone else, in Oslo or on Pennsylvania Avenue.

            The problem is that they’re not at the wheel. And open letters from senior politburo members calling for reform of this or that notwithstanding, they’re nowhere near the wheel. And until the CCP deathgrip on this wheel is loosened, the people never will be.

            Does the Nobel affect this grip? As you say, who knows. I’d give it a solid maybe. But an absence of the Nobel would have had no effect on that grip. So when you’re talking about the CCP, “maybe” could be seen as an improvement upon “no”….maybe.

          • @Bin Wang – But the truth is that dissidents who do not associate with foreign organisations suffer as much oppression as those who do. The idea that foreign support makes them more of a target is not actually supported by the facts. The one unifying characteristic is that they challenge the government in a way which goes beyond mere muffled criticism.

            Now, if your actual argument is that dissidents should not challenge the government, because this would make them a target, this is at least in tune with the facts as they appear to be. However, if dissidents do not challenge the government, in what way can they ever achieve their goals. Put simply – if a dissident doesn’t challenge the government, then in what way are they a dissident?

          • Bin Wang


            You speak as if it’s still up for debate. It’s not. China already has the leverage. You’re a little late on that and that’s the very point.

            “Guns blazing” is a metaphor. Perhaps you’ve heard of one, or God forbid, used one in the past yourself.

            I personally have much respect for Liu and for you imply that I’d personally keep him and his wife in jail is, well, perhaps not out of keeping with your general approach here. In short, why don’t you get a grip stewie. That’s not what this is about. We keep having the same conversation because you’re not really understanding, nor trying to understand the point there.

            SK seems to grasp what I am talking about much better than you do, see below. So to address SK as well, it’s because the Party can and is childish at times that laowai needs to keep their stupid mouths shut, pardon my bluntness. Beijing doesn’t care what I think, and it sure as hell cares a lot less what laowai thinks. Sure there is “face” and the whole diplomatic dog and pony show, but at the end of the day they’ll be damned if they are EVER going to publicly bow to overt displays of Western will in front of the whole world. If you keep it on the down low and via background, diplomatic channels, you have much more success with the Party. But publicly call Beijing’s bluff and Beijing will show you whether it’s a “bluff,” and more and more these days, with that increasing leverage, guess what, Beijing ain’t bluffing.

            This is about knowing what you can and can’t do. And I think your fooling yourselves if you don’t understand that. So it’s not as if there’s no harm if you try, but it’s the fact that there is in fact harm if you try, because, again, nothing better helps the CPC to get the people to circle the wagons around it and China than tactless, blunt, public, and self-rightousness/superior displays of China-admonishment by the West. This isn’t about my level of investment, it’s a fact and the truth, and you see it over and over again. You think the 2008 Tibet/DL issue did anything else other than galvanize the Chinese people solidly in line behind Beijing???

            @SK — I appreciate your reasonability and yes, it’s still a big maybe so we’ll have to see. I think what needs to be appreciated about China, is that when left to her own devices, she is incredibility difficult to unify as govern as a whole because she’s so big and diverse. Simply, left to her own devices, people will grumble, and dissent will sound, and governments will have to listen. This is what the CPC has most to fear. But as between the CPC and outsiders who purport to waggle their fingers (i.e. stuart, Oslo, etc.), the CPC wins the hearts and minds of the people everytime, esp. these days as the people’s stand of living ever get better. Economic growth, political stability, and keep China unified and strong against traditional and historic oppressors IS the legitimacy of the Party in the eyes of the Chinese people, who, frankly, are willing to eat some bitterness on personal freedom levels to achieve those major goals for China. In that respect, it’s this love of country over love of self that keeps the CPC going strong. Is it too much nationalism, maybe. And do the two necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, no. But the Party is the Party and it’ll take a long time of gradual change from within to get it to relax. But force it from the outside and it will close up, that’s the problem.

            @FOARP — My issue isn’t that Liu himself will back longer time. It’s that the progressive’s entire hand will be weakened on the whole issue. Beijing’s resolve is usually strengthened, because frankly, they think … if the West wants this for China, it must be against our best interests, let’s bolster our grip on it immediately. Frankly I don’t disagree that it’s a paranoid and childish way of approaching things, but then again, much of what the West has wanted for China in the past has been pretty crappy for China. The Chinese simply believe that a leopard can’t change it’s spots that fast.

          • “China already has the lever­age.”

            A point I made, adding that the leverage is increasing.

            “I per­son­ally have much respect for Liu…”

            Glad to hear it.

            “…and for you imply that I’d per­son­ally keep him and his wife in jail”.

            More straw than a donkey’s backyard. I implied no such thing.

            “We keep hav­ing the same con­ver­sa­tion because you’re not really under­stand­ing…”

            False projection with a hint of straw. You’ll have to do better.

            “laowai needs to keep their stu­pid mouths shut…”

            Your frustration is showing. This inclination to echo party rhetoric is unbecoming.

            “…at the end of the day they’ll be damned if they are EVER going to pub­licly bow to overt dis­plays of West­ern will in front of the whole world.”

            WTF? An award was made, is all. Your impersonation of a People’s Daily op-ed writer is getting sharper, BW. Besides, the loudest in-your-face demands and rants aren’t being issued by your beloved ‘west’, now are they?

            “If you keep it on the down low and via back­ground, diplo­matic chan­nels, you have much more suc­cess with the Party.”

            You seriously overstate the CCP’s capacity to play the role of reasonable power-broker.

            “But pub­licly call Beijing’s bluff and Bei­jing will show you whether it’s a “bluff,”…”

            No idea what you’re going on about. Is somebody bluffing?

            “…tact­less, blunt, pub­lic, and self-rightousness/ superior dis­plays of China-admonishment by the West.”

            I think I read that in Global Times yesterday. Seriously, man, you’ve gotta go easy on the Kool-Aid.

            “You think the 2008 Tibet/DL issue did any­thing else other than gal­va­nize the Chi­nese peo­ple solidly in line behind Beijing???”

            Indeed, they were particularly galvanized by Serfs Emancipation Day.

            “But as between the CPC and out­siders who pur­port to wag­gle their fin­gers (i.e. stu­art, Oslo, etc.), the CPC wins the hearts and minds of the peo­ple…”

            Wow! Now he’s got me in league with the Nobel Committee in a plot to re-educate 1.4 billion people! – except the Tibetans, who are already onside, of course. In my benevolence I’m going to assume that your sugar levels were running low when you typed that. Good laugh, though.

            “… and keep China uni­fied and strong against tra­di­tional and his­toric oppres­sors”.

            Now, what did I tell you about that Kool Aid?

            “But force it from the out­side and it will close up, that’s the problem.”

            Beijing can’t be forced, so what are you talking about?

            “Frankly I don’t dis­agree that it’s a para­noid and child­ish way of approach­ing things…”

            Well, that’s something. Always end on a note of accord, that’s what I say.

          • Bin Wang

            Back to your non-substantive cheek stu … figured that was bound to come about.

            Indeed, best to find some common ground, of course. We just disagree sharply with regard to approach. The Party won’t be changed by such public jabs by outsiders (sure, the Prize isn’t a full-blown attempt at a knock-out punch, but a jab certainly), but will only harden its resolve and the resolve of those who see the Party as the lesser of the evils (as between it and the West), that’s all I am saying.

            You think you know best but you don’t. At least on here (I’d like to think perhaps you’d be more personable/reasonable without the computer), you come off as a self-righteous, arrogant finger-waggler of the highest order — just the sort of laowai the CPC would prefer regular Chinese people to meet, mind you.

            God forbid more Chinese people should meet more Westerners of a non-judgmental nature, such a development of mutual understanding and acceptance would then cause serious problems for the CPC and the anti-Western devil spin they’d prefer to put on such political issues. I’m sure you’ll say you are such a fellow in your real life interations with Chinese … in which case the only conclusion is that you’d just prefer to be an on-line agitator, but deep down do also realize that soft power, tactful diplomacy is in fact what gets you further with China.

            For all of our sakes I hope that’s the case.

          • “”you come off as a self-righteous, arro­gant finger-waggler of the high­est order”

            Nope. That’s just the way you’re trying to spin things because I called you on some less than noteworthy comments – which I dealt with very nicely, in my humble opinion.

          • Bin Wang

            Ah, even in a quick retort, couldn’t help but to pat yourself on the back, huh? No, you’re not self-righteous/arrogant at all stu …

            Less than noteworthy comments indeed … what was that cliche about pots, kettles, and dark colors again?

          • “what was that cliche about pots, ket­tles, and dark col­ors again?”

            Not sure I’ve heard that one … old CCP proverb perhaps?

            We disagree on plenty. But we agree that incremental and steady changes are what China needs address the freedoms currently denied its citizenry. There’s no quick fix.

            However, there is a larger prize that affects us all.

            My broader point from the start is that – in the meantime – China’s leaders are not equitable or reasonable wielders of the growing power they hold and will use it increasingly to suppress dissenting opinion worldwide, whether that opinion is expressed through the arts, media, UN, governmental reports, protests etc.

            I care deeply that future generations everywhere should not be subject to the same punitive silencing that currently epitomises Beijing’s approach to discourse that strays from official narratives.

            And I think it’s folly of the greatest magnitude to dismiss the possibility.

          • Bin Wang

            I am glad you understand that gradual change is needed and not bloody revolution. Frankly I doubt many Westerners understand that at all. Many seem to think if you full bore on the political attack China will somehow fold.

            As for impact on the world, if you’re talking about the growing conservative streak here in the U.S., you bet that’s troubling. But that’s more as a result of the current state of economic affairs than any true return to social conservative thought (i.e., people are going to vote more Republican this Nov. because there’s now more fiscal conservatives, not because they’re now more socially conservative).

            If I may also violate Godwin’s Law, look at Germany 1930’s, another difficult time economically, and people became desparate enough to be willing to believe in National Socialism, not as a social issue, but because the Nazi’s, at least, put Germans back to work.

            This leads to one conclusion, the driver for social change is economic change, i.e., poor economic situations will lead to social conservatism, whereas better economic situations will lead to social liberalism. I think if you look at the countries in the world, you’ll see most fitting that mold. Which means, in terms of China and the CPC, that the road to social liberalism does begin with what China is doing now, growing wealth. I think most Chinese understand that so so long as the CPC maintains political stability, the tremendous ecomonic growth of China these days are exactly what’s needed to pave the way for future social reforms.

            The bottom line is freedom of expression is pretty worthless if you can’t have something to eat, somewhere to sleep, something to wear, a job, etc. People value those things more and even in a democracy, will vote along those lines first and foremost. Domestic economic policy will dominate the November elections, no doubt. You can’t keep a nation poor like the Sudan and expect to have the same freedoms as Norway.

            So you see China’s growing wealth as cup half empty, because the growing leverage will not mean social change and just perhaps even growth of social repression to other nations. I see it as half-full, because you can’t even have social change without growing wealth, so you have to get there first, and then I believe the social change will come with time, as I state below, in 20-30 years with more progressives in the party and the old guard dying out.

          • “I am glad you under­stand that grad­ual change is needed and not bloody rev­o­lu­tion.”

            I do, and would never wish the kind of calamity that would ensue with rapid, sweeping changes upon any people. That said, I’d love to see some genuine, tangible gesture from the leaders in the direction of a more mature, open, and inclusive society.

            “Many [westerners] seem to think if you full bore on the polit­i­cal attack China will some­how fold.”

            China’s not for folding – no nation has the leverage to try, and Beijing knows it. Again, the worry is how responsibly the nation who does have the leverage uses it.

            “The bot­tom line is free­dom of expres­sion is pretty worth­less if you can’t have some­thing to eat, some­where to sleep, some­thing to wear, a job, etc.”

            I take you point, but the idealist in me doesn’t see any reason why the Chinese people – or any people – can’t have both.

            “You can’t keep a nation poor like the Sudan…”

            Don’t get me started on arms sales to African despots.

            “… and just per­haps even growth of social repres­sion to other nations.”

            I just don’t want the teachers of my children’s generation to be browbeaten into using ‘harmonised’ texts, or for tomorrow’s global media and arts to kowtow to the sensibilities of Beijing. And I’m not entirely sure that’s not where we’re heading.

            I hereby declare this is my last entry in this thread.


  16. Jones

    I like how that charlatan Ma Zhaoxu, when asked about Liu Xiaobo’s wife, said “I do not know who you are talking about. I am not familiar with this person.”

  17. King Tubby

    Anyway, whatever. this affair has temporarily killed off Beijing’s immediate ambition to capture an audience via soft power global media outreach project a la CNN or Al Jazeera.

    Talk about reversion to stereotype. Read some of the bilge being pumped out by Xinhua. Like being hit on the head by a large dead fish.

    I bet some of the over-paid western consultants employed to assist in this project must now be banging their heads on their desks. (OMG, how long do I have left on my contract?)

    If they want to hit the learning curve again, deport LX and his wife to Norway, ride out the derision and get back to business. Short memories and all that. And of course, all this won’t affect the currency debate in the West, particularly in the US.

    Confronting the West on too many issues all at once is not a great idea. Deng Jiao Peng (sic) must be turning over in his grave.

  18. Sau Lan

    So, fueled by the challenge that “People in China aren’t talking about Liu,” I’ve started my own collection of .cn comments. I’m up to 9, lol (Doraemon, SinRain and QSTHEORY).

    A fourth, Baijiajiangtan, doesn’t have any positive/negative comments but does have a picture of China Consulate-San Francisco celebrating Liu’s win. I’ll count that as a positive.

    • Some Guy

      Sau Lan,

      Did you save any of the posts/comments? The Doraemon and QSTHEORY posts have already been harmonised. Please summarize what you find….very interested!

      By the way, one interesting source I’m reading right now is the reaction of Chinese students in Japan. Their conversations seem to flow more as they aren’t thrown off course by 50c/fenqing like in English or Chinese BBS (i.e.. no fenqings are learning enemy small Japan devil language).

      Another surprise is the generally positive coverage in the Chinese media in Canada. Even the simplified Chinese news site I check had a surprisingly positive article …although they followed up the next day with the angry Xinhua reaction.

  19. King Tubby


    China’s Constitution. Here is food for thought and unconnected to LX.

  20. Amazing what sort of bump in posts can occur once an article is reposted on Roland’s site.

  21. S.K. Cheung

    Funny story. I was on another blog, where Pug says that his motto is that if you can’t kill the message, kill the messenger. That was his justification to try to vilify Liu. I guess that explains the awesome display on this topic thread.

  22. King Tubby

    OKAY, old and new members of Fight Club. You know who you are, so I won’t name and shame. Even my cat has lost interest in the point scoring and blood on the monitor.

    Lets move on with some short and near term PREDICTIONS, what with the big meeting in Beijing and (maybe) possibilities of political change being orchestrated from the apex.

    Even if enacted, could they be translated down thru the provincial chain of command?

    Leadership handover. Who is calling the shots? Which ministry? Factional power blocs? Is the PLA getting a bit stroppy at present? Importance of public opinion, if any. Will they stick with discussing dreary old economic planning stuff. ETC.

    Whole range of punditry opinion here, if you peruse global media.

    I know that you are all well-endowed and some are downright good-looking eg the dude in the fetching white First Sea Lord outfit, but it is time for some substance, analytical thinking plus supporting evidence.

    Step up to the plate, pug_ster, stuart, FOARP and SKC. Show us your wares.
    BW. Stop trying to sneak out of class. This includes you too.

    • Hard to predict Tubby, hard to predict… some provinces are going to better carrots, some provinces are going to nastier stick. As long as the powers to be in Beijing objective is to stay the powers to be, then there is going to little in terms of “major changes”.

      • S.K. Cheung

        I agree, Matt. The premise of letting Chinese people drive change from within being the only impetus for change assumes that the CCP will be receptive to such encouragement. The CCP riding shotgun to its own eventual demise does not appear to be a role ideally suited to her unique talents. But I would be more than happy to be wrong about that.

        • Bin Wang

          SK — I think the CPC is fully capable of evolving and has shown that throughout its existence. The CPC of the Cult. Rev. (60’s) is different from the CPC of the (80’s) and is different from the CPC of today.

          I think what you’re saying is whether it’s evolving enough as a qualitative matter, and/or fast enough as a matter of timing. You’re probably right that in terms of structural changes which are needed (i.e., stronger intra-party checks and balances to combat corruption), you probably won’t see them anytime soon. Like I said, I think another 20-30 years need to pass at least for the last of the old guard to die out. But in terms of smaller changes, I fully believe the CPC’s making them regularly, or else China wouldn’t be where it is today. So perhaps we should ask what types of changes we’re talking about. The CPC is all over economic reform, for example. As to the rest that you’re talking about, again … my position is patience.

          • S.K. Cheung

            To Bin Wang:
            no doubt the CCP will evolve. But whether that evolution will mirror the evolution in the appetite of Chinese people, I’m not so sure. And whether that evolution is capable of resulting in its own extinction, I have no faith in that at all.

            The CCP has absolutely reformed itself economically in the last 31 years, and there is no reason to deviate from this. I doubt Chinese people would want any deviation from their own recent economic performance. As you say, that’s not the point of contention. It’s the political system of the CCP, and all its inherent “benefits”, that require evolutionary reform, in my opinion.

            Now, with their SEZ’s, and HK, as FOARP points out, they have a few test kitchens simmering. They’ve introduced some mild-mannered attempts at representation at local levels. So perhaps they’re doing more than nothing. The next question to me is whether these things are just for show, or whether they’ll be allowed to amount to something, at some point down the road. I’m not one for predictions, but I hope they do. Though putting hope/faith in the CCP on the political front is a fool’s game in and of itself.

            I don’t know about you, but hoping that a country’s political system will begin to respect the will of her constituents simply based on a process of attrition over time seems ass-backwards to me. And to hope/expect that the one party in a one party state might at some point willingly cede its own power requires a healthy reservoir of faith, in addition to the patience you advise.

    • Impossible to say. Obviously there are reformists within the CCP, and there are hardliners. Those who hold the real power, however, are those in favour of the status quo. The likeliest outcome on this basis is the status quo with sops to the reformists (more tolerance for NGOs, although not actually properly legalising them, for example) and to the hardliners (firm commitments to aquiring military capablities – aircraft carriers for example, and a tougher approach to Japan).

      Xi Jinping’s comments in Mexico showed him to be a hawk, a hardliner, with no sympathy for reform. However, others have lavished considerable praise on him, and labelled him a liberal – although no examples have been given of why exactly they so characterise him. Obviously, also, he has been a front-runner for the leadership for so long that any opposition in favour of an alternative candidate will be well developed.

      Of the other hopeful, Li Keqiang, we really don’t know much. That he favours continued market-oriented economic policies is no surprise – almost everyone of importance in the Chinese leadership structure does.

      The long-term outlook, though, is different. A deadline of a somewhat final nature falls in 2017, when the government will have to decide whether it ever will live up to its promise of introducing a full franchise in Hong Kong. Another attempt to put this off will inevitably lead to protests on an even larger scale than those seen in 2003, and perhaps even violence. On the other hand, allowing full elections to take place in Hong Kong will almost certainly lead to strident calls elsewhere to introduce similar reforms on the mainland (which no CCP leadership will ever seriously consider). Given that whoever succeeds the Hu/Wen team in 2012 will have in mind their prospects for re-selection in 2018, it seems likely that the decision will be to break this promise, but the costs of this in the eyes of both the people of Hong Kong and the wider world will not be slight.

      Essentially, I expect the next ten years to be pretty much like the last ten years, but more so. Only the collapse of growth can change current CCP policy, since the policies of the CCP over the last 20 years have largely been successful. The only foreseeable controversy which may cause problems for them is the Hong Kong issue, but even if this leads to tanks on the streets in some places, the CCP leadership will not hesitate to kill to maintain power.

      The Taiwan issue will carry on in much the same way as it has in the past. There will be no invasion of Taiwan as long as the US guarantee is maintained. In Tibet and Xinjiang I doubt anyone would be very surprised if there were further violence, but the government is not afraid of responding harshly.

      Despite the drum-beat of nationalistic rhetoric on both sides, there will be no conflict in the either the South or East China Seas – no-one would really gain from a war.

      Similarly, since the issue of succession in North Korea has been resolved, the insane North Korean government will continue in power, and no war will start there. If even the sinking of a South Korean warship did not cause a war, then nothing short of an attempted invasion can.

  23. S.K. Cheung

    To KT:
    fair enough. I have opinions on what should happen. I don’t have opinions on what will happen. For that, time will tell. If I had to wager, in the short term, it’d be on “nothing”. Of course that also depends on what is meant by “short term”.

    As for the PLA, their generals are sitting around looking at all their toys gathering dust, so I imagine some of them are itching for a fight. Problem is there’s no one really to fight against, give or take some naval exercises and pointing some missiles across the strait. So even here, probably nothing will happen.

    Importance of public opinion? There should be some. But there won’t be.

  24. King Tubby

    Thanks and a Koala Stamp to you all. Got to explore the HK aspect. Any expansion of NGOs will be tightly managed.

    Of course your gradualist arguments will only remain viable, if the housing market retains its status quo, and does not take the much predicted Andy Xie (sic?) spiral, and that local govt debt identified by Victor Shih does not lead to any major league dramas.

    Check the debt figures. They are humungous.

    Then there is the drive to force China to revalue its currency which is simply NOT going away, and this in tern will potentially lead to increased graduate unemployment. (A great opening for nationalism here, according to the fengqing slight de jour…which sort of leads to the latest op piece.)

    Finally, if Beijing does not stamp down hard on the few loudmouths in the PLA, former bad blood neighbours – South Korea, Japan, Phillipines and esp Vietnam will start to consider informal military alliances, which of course hinge on Pacific US

    BTW. Google. Anti-Chinese sentiment in Vietnam….Hanoi is having to work very hard to contain it. (Did a stint in Hanoi years ago, and fear of the larger northern neighbour is a commonplace.)

    • S.K. Cheung

      In some arenas, the things that China says she wants are made more difficult to attain by the very actions she employs in an effort to try to attain them. It’s taking dead aim at your foot, and being a very good marksman.

      China wants East Asia and South-East Asia to be driven by member states, without the usual much-maligned “outside forces” (ie the US). Then she declares the entire South China Sea region and Spatry Islands to be among her “core interests”, which, in CCP nomenclature, is synonymous with Taiwan/Tibet. So instead of US bases being closed down in Japan, the Japanese and Filipinos are now quite accomodating of continued US military presence. SK will continue to tolerate US presence as long as there is a NK, and as long as China reacts to Cheonan style incidents the way she did. So if China wants to be the regional heavy and nudge the US out of the way, she has a curious way of going about it.

    • Jones

      Yes, my Facebook wall is always blowing up with anti-Chinese sentiment from my Vietnamese classmates.

  25. Here’re our Peace Prize Winner, Liu Xiaobo’s own words (h/t to China Study Group’s blogpost “Debate about Liu Xiaobo”):

    On Bush’s war of terror –

    Bush’s excellent accomplishment in anti-terror, is something Kerry abolutely can not negate”

    On the Iraq war –

    Bush adminstration’s ‘premptive strike” strateg is the right choice”

    No matter what, the anti-Saddam war is righteous! President Bush’s decision is a right one!”

    Finally, on Islam –

    Thou, we should not view Islam’s teaching on terrorism in the same vein as fascism and communism… but this is obvious: a culture and [religious] system that produced this threat, must be exteremely intolerant and blood thirsty.”

    (Link provided for Liu’s 2004 article “Iraq War and America’s Presidential Election”)

    • S.K. Cheung

      To Charles,
      nice to see that you fully subscribe to the Pug motto of “if you can’t kill the message, kill the messenger”.

      His views on the Iraq War, though certainly questionable in 2010, were probably less obtuse in 2004. I certainly agree that the quote on Islam is disturbing…assuming that it is consistent with the larger context of that article and hasn’t been taken out of context. Sorry, but you don’t necessarily get the benefit of the doubt on those sorts of things.

      Funny thing though. When I read Charter 08, the stuff you mentioned didn’t seem to figure prominently. But as Pug says, why debate the message when you can just shoot the messenger? Or in the CCP’s case, jail the messenger…same general idea.

    • More of Liu’s word on war and Islam, from the same article:

      Without America’s protection, the long persecuted Jews who faced extermination during WWII, probably would again be drowned by the Islamic world’s hatred.”

      Equating Islam to Hitler to further Nobel Peace Prize’s stated goal of “fraternity between nations”?

      • S.K. Cheung

        Ummm, really Charles? Where in that statement does he “equate” Islam with Hitler? Now, the statement does seem to be an unnecessary over-generalization of “the Islamic world”, although it also does seem representative of the sentiments of at least some “Islamic world” leaders like Ahmadinejad. Also, Israel has shown that she can give as good as she gets, so I think “drowning” is overly dramatic.

        The stated goal may be to promote “fraternity between nations”. But if such fraternity doesn’t yet exist, there’s no stipulation to sugar-coat things, is there?

        So now it seems like the tactic is to suggest that Liu didn’t deserve the prize because of this and that he may have said in the past. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. The committee found him worthy, and since it’s their prize, it’s their prerogative.

  26. Thanks kai! For the record, Fauna never tells us to avoid anything, political or not. :)

  27. lolz

    Duh, I guess when you get a hot political topic like this one the regular political posters want a battleground to post the same stuff over and over again.

    It’s silly to dictate what other bloggers should blog about though. Many if not most of the China-bashers here have their own blogs which they can easily post their thoughts on.

  28. S.K. Cheung

Continuing the Discussion