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Taiwan’s reaction to Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize

Liu XiaoboThe Nobel Committee has awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Taiwan‘s Central News Agency (中央社) reports that Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia (劉霞), said in response to the news that she hopes Liu can be released from prison soon, but she felt the news was somewhat ironic.

Several days ago in the lead up to the announcement of the prize, the Taipei Society urged the Nobel Committee to award the prize to Liu Xiaobo. According the the CNA report the Society said that, “a Nobel Peace Prize for Liu would mean not only recognition of his long-term dedication to human rights and democratic reforms in China, but would also send a clear message to the Chinese communist regime that the world stands in solidarity with Chinese people who share Liu’s vision for a strong, prosperous and democratic China that respects individual freedom and human rights.” 

Liu is one of the authors of Charter 08 (零八憲章), a manifesto for political reform and democratisation in China. After the charter was released in 2008 I wrote about how the charter’s contents related to Taiwan. Writing in Foreign Policy several days ago, Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch, noted that Liu winning the Nobel Prize would “would make it impossible to prevent the mass diffusion of Charter 08 and Liu’s other writings.”

I have translated some reactions to Liu’s Nobel Prize win by Taiwanese people on Twitter and Plurk.

soundfury: 太恭喜曉波,恭喜各位中國朋友![translation: Greatest congratulations to Liu Xiaobo. Congratulations to every Chinese friend!]

DPPonline: 我們也要指出,自劉曉波遭羈押、判刑迄今,相較於美國、歐盟各國政府的聲援與行動,馬政府卻一貫緘默以對,為推動兩岸交流協商而對中國政府打壓民主改革派人士的行徑視若無睹 [translation: We want to point out, from when Liu Xiaobo was detained and sentenced, the American, EU and every country's government appealed and took action while the Ma government was silent. In order to promote cross-strait exchanges and detente they turned a blind eye to the Chinese government's oppression of those people promoting democracy.]

thecarol: 我在新浪貼了一條日文新聞一條英文新聞,不知道幾時會被刪。但我他媽的才不管!一定要貼![translation: I posted the news on Sina (a Chinese website) in English and Japanese. I don't know what time it will be deleted. However, it doesn't fucking matter! I had to post it!]

ilya: 這是所有在監獄裡面的良心犯的獎啊![translation: This is a prize for all the prisoners of conscience!]

拷秋勤–范姜: 聽到劉曉波得諾貝爾和平獎的消息實在太令人振奮了 [translation: When I heard the news that Liu Xiaobo had won the Nobel Peace Prize it made me feel really inspired.]

Further to the DPP’s comments on Twitter, they have issued a statement (中文) on the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. The statement calls on the Chinese government to release Liu and allow him to travel overseas to accept his prize.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, issued a statement congratulating Liu. “Awarding the Peace Prize to him is the international community’s recognition of the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms,” the Dalai Lama said. He also called on the Chinese government to release Liu Xiabo and other prisoners of conscience.

Update: Some responses from Taiwan’s government have now been reported by CNA. A quote from their report:

President Ma Ying-jeou said in a press release Friday that Liu’s award was “not only an individual honor but also has great historical significance for the development of human rights in China.”

Quoting his own speech of June 4, Ma urged China to treat dissidents with lenience because “it would convince people throughout the world that the rise of mainland China contributes not only to the cause of peace, but is also a positive development from the standpoint of the universal values of freedom, democracy, and human rights.”

The article goes on to quote Premier Wu Den-yih and Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan.

*Photo from Wikipedia.

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Comment from John Herodotus
Time 8 October 2010 at 12:39 pm

I am absolutely ecstatic about the selection of Liu Xiaobo. I’ve been following him ever since I first came across his essay, “The Holy Word, Revolution”. It should be required reading for anybody who wants to understand China or for anyone who imagines himself to be a revolutionary. This guy is the real deal, and this is by far the best selection the committee has made since Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi were chosen back in the early ’90s.

It is way past due for him to receive this kind of recognition. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

Comment from Gerd
Time 9 October 2010 at 10:28 am

The news really made my day yesterday! I was so glad they made this decision over there in Oslo, which I had hoped, but not expected.

Unfortunately now Liu Xia is missing, look for the news.
Apparently the regime at Zhongnanhai shows its repressive and authoritarian character ever more clearly.

Comment from David Reid
Time 10 October 2010 at 12:15 am

Thanks for your comments John and Gerd. The response from Beijing showed the CCP’s true face. I hope this only represents a brief period of darkness before China can emerge into the sunshine.

Comment from ChasL
Time 11 October 2010 at 6:08 am

Liu Xiaobo has received hundreds of thousands of US government funding via the NED in the past five years to conduct domestic political activity in China (including advocating abolition of China’s constitution.) Check NED’s China grants for Independent Chinese Pen Center and Minzhu Zhongguo magazine, which Liu heads.

If Liu were American he would be in violation of FARA (Foreign Agent Registration Act). Ron Paul had once commented “What the NED does in foreign countries… would be rightly illegal in the United States”.

Comment from David Reid
Time 11 October 2010 at 9:30 am

ChasL, a quick Google search reveals that you have posted similar comments on dozens of blogs and news sites. I suspect you are a member of the 50 Cent Army (五毛黨).

You have the chance to exercise your right of free speech on this blog and elsewhere. You might like to think twice about condemning others for simply trying to peacefully exercise their right to free speech.

Comment from pale
Time 11 October 2010 at 1:45 pm


That’s a childish response. Instead of refuting what is provided, you resort to the 50 cent cliche. New low. Why can you guys face the music if you are so righteous?

Comment from David Reid
Time 11 October 2010 at 11:42 pm

pale, I really don’t have much time for people who insinuate against those who promote the practice of democracy and give their silent consent to the authoritarians who oppress democracy. I don’t know if ChasL is a member of the 50 Cent Army, but his behaviour mimics it anyway.

Comment from pale
Time 12 October 2010 at 6:32 pm

Nice easy escape. No wonder you guys always hold the truth.

Comment from David Reid
Time 13 October 2010 at 6:24 am

pale, my opinion on various issues is clearly stated on my blog, Twitter, in letters to the Taipei Times and elsewhere. I don’t claim to “hold the truth” but I do openly and consistently advocate for democracy, justice and human rights in Taiwan and elsewhere. I use my real name and don’t hide behind a pseudonym. I have no idea who you are or what you stand for. However, your short comments on my blog give me reason to be skeptical about your motives.

I don’t follow any China blogs closely, but The Peking Duck notes that people are carrying on about Liu Xiaobo receiving money from the NED in the comments on other blogs. Similarly others delight in quoting Liu’s “300 years of colonialism” comment without understanding its context. Labelling these people as members of the 50 Cent Army is quite justified.

Comment from mike
Time 17 October 2010 at 4:03 am

“Labelling these people as members of the 50 Cent Army is quite justified.”

But not good enough.

“Why can you guys face the music if you are so righteous?”

Because there isn’t any music; the likes of you are just screeching commies, not rhetorical “musicians”.

The money sent to Liu Xiaobo was stolen money, but if Americans were actually free I’m confident they would voluntarily deliver to him many times more – without giving the slightest moral consideration to the objections of people like you or your superiors.

Yours is a third-rate, anti-enlightenment culture made so by the crippling effects of your political structures. As long as that remains the case, your children can have no future befitting their nature as potent human beings.

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