On Friday the Nobel Prize Committee in Norway announced that the 2010 Nobel Prize for Peace has been awarded to Liu Xiaobo, a jailed Chinese dissident who has fought for democracy in China for more than 20 years. Liu has been detained, arrested and sentenced repeatedly for his peaceful political activities, beginning with his participation in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and on four other occasions since.
This years winner of the Peace Prize is a refreshing contrast from last year when the Nobel Committee awarded the prize to Barack Obama for… well ahh, we are still not sure for exactly what.
The Nobel Committee made its decision after threats from Chinese officials that awarding Liu would damage Norway’s relationship with China.
In recent years, the Peace Prize has been awarded to questionable recipients such as Obama, Al Gore in 2007, Jimmy Carter in 2002 and Yasser Arafat in 1993 to name just a few bad choices. The recent choices of Obama, Gore and Carter were primarily the Norwegian Committee’s equivalent of saying “we hate George Bush.”
There is a better tradition of the Prize being awarded to true heroes who fought their oppressive governments. These include Poland’s Lech Walesa in 1983, Russian dissident Andrei Sakharov in 1975, Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi in 1991 and, more recently, Iranian human rights activits Shirin Ebadi in 2003. See here for a complete list of Peace Prize laureates.
Even the Nobel Prize of Literature this year has gone to an accomplished writer who has been an advocate for freedom. Mario Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian author, who in his youth supported Castro’s revolution, changed his views over time and, in 1990, ran unsuccessfully for president of Peru on an anti-socialist, pro-freedom platform. A great choice, especially given the dominance of leftist writers among fashionable European and American elites.
We are glad that the Nobel Committee has returned to responsible, sane choices after last year’s infatuation with Barack Obama.