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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 7:52am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 March, 2013, 3:32am

A free Liu Xiaobo will be less of a headache for Beijing

Communists are supposed to be unsentimental realists who care only about outcomes and results. So even judging by the ethics-free standard of pure realpolitik, the jailing of dissident and Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo has been a complete disaster for Beijing.

It helped him win a Nobel Prize, which in turn attracted more supporters around the world and put China's human rights record in the spotlight. The nation justifiably takes pride in its culture, rapid rise and glowing influence, but being the only country in the world that is keeping a Nobel peace laureate in jail runs counter to its great aspirations.

Now, another global campaign to free Liu is under way - launched by no less a world figure and fellow Nobel laureate as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and already signed by hundreds of thousands of people. Predictably, it has become a rallying cry for Hong Kong's pan-democrats and those who oppose the central government.

Tutu is no China basher. At the same time as the campaign's launch, Tutu wrote to denounce the US hi-tech drone assassination programme. His even-handed criticism, directed at great nations that have done wrong, makes his voice all the more powerful.

Instead of jailing Liu, suppose Beijing granted him a tenure professorship in a university. Whatever critical commentaries he writes would not possibly attract the kind of global attention and worldwide readership he and his work now enjoy. Indeed, the quality of his political ideas is debatable. His early work betrays an uncritical adoration of Western democracy, rationality and enlightenment ideals. Later, after a US university fellowship, he became more critical. Charter 08 contains a similar mixture of democratic freedoms and domestic reforms which are already hotly debated in China.

That his work has escaped much-deserved critical appraisal is largely because his status as China's leading dissident serves many useful causes and political agendas, and also because of genuine sympathy for his courage and suffering. The new leadership under Xi Jinping cannot afford to insist on jailing Liu.

Free him now. Whatever criticism he will make as a free man will be far less damaging than his continuing incarceration.


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Not necessarily wise advice. One free Liu might incite another 20 or 2000 Lius to rise against the government. It is always a gamble making political decisions, like choosing a woman. You never know for sure what you will get, but know for sure that you can never please everyone with your decision.
which century are you living in?
and his wife... who has broken what law?
Free Liu Xiaobo now.
Liu Xiaobo’s case is more legal related issues as I have read the Defendant’s attorney argument from the trial provided by American media. Now, the question is if Nobel PEACE has anything to do with HUMAN RIGHT as according to the definition, then, what is purpose to give Liu Xiaobo a Nobel peace prize. Therefore, what is Norwegian Nobel committee intended it. Perhaps Norwegian Nobel committee tries to use Nobel as a tool to destabilize Chinese society. you tell me what is wrong with those Norwegian Noble committees, it is a provincially minded hypocrite. Noble prize suppose to be a noble yet those Norwegian Noble committees do make the Noble peace price a kind of joke.
In last Mr. Lu’s trial he was charged with SUBVERSION, the arguments which had been brought up by his attorney was not in subject matter or directly to the case which Mr. Liu had been charged during the trial. Liu’s attorney should not have attributed his legal incompetence to a human right issue, which would not solve actual problem of Chinese legal system or a government’s accountability.
Yes, Chinese judicial system is not perfect and is still a work in progress yet if Liu Xioabo would have had a competent attorney, then, he is unlike to be in the jail as all the international eyes on his trial and unlike Chinese leaders would be overrode Chinese judicial decision. Liu should appear to Chinese high court with a competent and very familiar with Chinese SUBVERSION law. Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍03/02/12美國

you seem to be rather naive (to be charitable).. once charged with subversion, how many are acquitted, even those with 'competent' lawyers in the field of 'subversion'? Do you have any statistics on this? I thought not. Let me enlighten you. Zero.
This is far too rational Alex. If the mainland political system worked as rationally as this suggests, there would not be the awful spiritual and environmental pollution that exists today in China. The idea that Xi Jinping has any real power is as laughable as those who thought that Obama could 'change the US of A' in any radical way. And in the US there is at least a 'rule of law'. Over a long period of time maybe the factions will shift and changes occur, but I am very doubtful that Xi will be able to (or want to) 'wave a wand' and Liu (and all the others jailed and deprived of their families etc for no other reason than that they dared to excercise their 'constitutional right' to freedom of expression) will be freed in order to continue with their 'sharp' and constructive criticisms of the Party, despite Mr Xi's apparent request for the public to provide this 'service'.


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