The award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese intellectual Liu Xiaobo is part of a well-established and laudable tradition. It is reminiscent of the same award in 1975 to another intellectual from a totalitarian state, Andrei Sakharov. In both cases, the winners displayed immense courage in demanding rights and freedoms that belong to all human beings in all countries. Both stayed in their homelands and both had to face the wrath of the state.
Liu is currently under incarceration for 11 years for “inciting subversion of state power”.
The Nobel committee’s press release echoed what many countries in China’s vicinity feel, but can’t drum up the courage to say: “China’s new status must entail increased responsibility.”
The controversy over the award, for Beijing is already making noises, should not prevent the world from celebrating the courage and fortitude of the peace laureate.