Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lemming Tracks: China, the Nobel Peace Prize, and Common Sense

This isn't a political blog, but the situation discussed in a Los Angeles Times article was too preposterous for the Lemming to ignore.
"Chinese media stay resolutely silent on Nobel winner"
Los Angeles Times (October 8, 2010)

"Imprisoned Liu Xiaobo wins one of the world's highest honors, but most of his countrymen have no idea. Web search engines return error messages for his name. The few who try to celebrate are arrested.

"The silence was conspicuous in China on Saturday.

"Dissident Liu Xiaobo languished in a prison cell, possibly unaware that he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a day earlier. His wife was incommunicado after telling a reporter she was being taken away by police. And the Chinese news media appeared determined to pretend that nothing had happened.

"As for most Chinese, they didn't have to pretend. Many of them don't know Liu exists, let alone that he has been honored with the world's most coveted award.

"This is the paradox of China: It's an economic superpower that is very much a part of the world and yet, at times, separate from it...."

The Lemming sympathizes - a little - with the folks who run China. For whatever reason, those Nobel Prizes are pretty hot stuff when it comes to public relations.

And, apparently, this particular Nobel Prize is some kind of plot.

Continuing with that Los Angeles Times article:

"...On Saturday, the world was there, with TV news reports of the toxic sludge in Hungary and other global events. There was one enormous exception, however: The Nobel Peace Prize, meant to appeal to the best in humanity and break down borders, didn't much exist for Chinese speakers.

"Only the Global Times, an English-language newspaper put out by the Chinese government, carried a stinging rebuke in its Saturday editions.

"Liu, the newspaper's unsigned editorial said, is 'an incarcerated Chinese criminal.' Awarding him the prize was a 'paranoid choice' that was 'meant to irritate China.' The Nobel Peace Prize has been 'degraded into a political tool that serves an anti-China purpose.

" 'It seems that instead of peace or unity in China, the Nobel committee would like to see the country split by an ideological rift, or better yet, collapse like the Soviet Union,' the editorial said....."

That was an English-language paper in China, remember. Chinese-language news? Not a peep, apparently, about that "criminal" and the nefarious Nobel Peace Prize committee.

Yes, the Lemming does sympathize - a little - with the folks who are running China.

Here they are, convinced that they have all the right answers and that everybody who doesn't agree with them is an enemy - not of them, but of China.

Then some non-Chinese group goes and gives a prize to somebody they locked up for not agreeing with them.

It is, from the Chinese leadership's point of view, an outrage.

Someone being locked up for disagreeing with the government, and that accusation of paranoia, reminded me of my 'good old days' - which I don't miss - and a sticker that read, "the paranoids are after me."

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