Nobel Prize No Victory For Tibet’s Struggle

Chinese Human Rights Activist Liu Xiaobo

Image; archivenet

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to  Mr. Liu Xiaobo is a moment of considerable celebration for all those who value human rights and seek an end to the oppression, injustice and censorship that dominates China and its people. It provides a beacon of hope to the movement for a democratic China, and sends a resounding message to the communist Chinese leadership that people around the world are opposed to the human rights violations and oppression which characterizes China’s regime. Tibettruth applauds the Nobel Committee for its wisdom, integrity and political courage in conferring the award upon Liu Xiaobo and hopes that other Chinese dissidents such as Mr. Sun Xiaodi, environmentalist activist who Tibettruth has been campaigning for, will attract a similar international concern and support .

It is to be hoped that this award will have a positive and moderating affect upon the manner in which Liu Xiaobo  is treated by the Chinese authorities, although their predictable reaction to censor any media coverage of the story within China does not signal any progress in terms of the totalitarian psychosis that prevails. However, despite its public outrage at the award it will be increasingly difficult for China’s regime to ignore Liu Xiaobo and the conditions of his imprisonment , as his case will now come under an increasingly bright international light. Indeed, the magnified sensitivity of this case will no doubt force China to arrange his eventual release, presumably after much diplomatic choreography between the US State Department and China’s Ministry Of Foreign Affairs. We can expect during any such negotiation that he will be exploited for the purposes of propaganda by China to present a human face towards the international community, as always politics rules, no more so for the United States which will be happy to dispatch someone of the stature of Bill Clinton to finalise any deal, to return with Liu Xiaobo to Washington DC in a blaze of media attention. There is precedent of course and a number of high profile Chinese dissidents, have after such theatre, established themselves in the United States, however they would be the first to remind us that despite the realization of their individual freedom the atrocities, state violence and injustices remain, and will do so until China’s tyrannical regime is replaced by a genuine system of democracy.

This is a key point and one that Tibetans inside Tibet are acutely  aware of, in that notwithstanding the international attention, prestige and concerns that surround either the award of the Nobel Peace Prize, or the globally reported release of a prominent dissident, the violent suppression of freedom remains. This sobering fact has strangely not prevented some from chorusing an exaggerated rhetoric of confidence concerning Liu Xiaobo’s award, some asserting it as a ‘victory for Tibet’, this is optimism gone mad. Tibetans only have to recall the euphoria that surrounded in1989 the award given to the Dalai Lama and examine the subsequent impact it had for the Tibetan cause, to realize that the media glamour and attention which was generated , though elevating the personal standing of His Holiness and enabling a higher international profile, had no effect whatsoever in reducing the grim excesses of China’s occupation of Tibet. Moreover there is a convincing argument to suggest it actually undemined the Tibetan cause.

Upon an individual level, and as a matter of principle and ethics, yes Liu Xiaobo receiving the Nobel Peace Prize is a wonderful event, it will not though diminish China’s atrocities in occupied Tibet, nor restore Tibet’s rightful independence. Perhaps those supporters of Tibet who have jumped upon the over-reaction bandwagon may wish to remind themselves that human rights are about the individual, and while any award which reduces personal suffering or leads to freedom is welcome, the Tibetan struggle is one of national liberation. The Nobel Peace Prize does not support such objectives, whoever the recipient.

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