The Nobel Peace Prize was established in accordance with the will of the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel, who decreed that it be awarded to persons who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.
However, far from being a prize with some universal authority, as is often assumed, the awarding is in the unaccountable hands of five former leading members of the parliament of Norway, a small imperialist country of four million people, which is a member of the war-mongering, US-led NATO alliance, and a current participant in the predatory war against the people of Afghanistan.
Accordingly, whilst some Nobel Peace laureates have been worthy recipients, a great many others have had no connection (at least no positive connection) with the laudable cause of peace, being recognised rather for their activities to undermine socialist and anti-imperialist countries, to promote the unhindered marauding of capitalism across the globe, and for generally serving the global interests of US imperialism.
The award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 on 8 October to Liu Xiaobo, a convicted criminal, presently serving a prison sentence in the People’s Republic of China, definitely meets the latter criteria.
The western media paints Liu as purely a political activist standing for human rights and democracy. But there is practically no mention made in the imperialist countries as to his true agenda, one which, if it were implemented, would plunge the Chinese people, who have lifted themselves out of poverty and oppression by dint of enormous struggles and sacrifice, back into an abyss of destitution and humiliation, where they would again be at the mercy of domestic capitalists and landlords, and above all of the hated foreign colonial masters of previous centuries.
In a 12 October opinion piece carried in the South China Morning Post, an English-language Hong Kong daily, Barry Sautman and Yan Hairong, academics at Hong Kong universities, explained matters as follows:
“The award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo is being celebrated globally, mainly by elites who claim to know what Liu is about.
“They say he is for human rights and democracy, but there is more to it than that, because much of what he is about is ignoble….
“Liu Xiaobo’s political and social goals have scarcely been mentioned in the current wave of adulation, yet these goals are distinctly at variance with the interests of the vast majority of Chinese, as they perceive them…
“In 1988, an interviewer asked him what condition China needs to have real historical change.
“He answered that China needs to have 300 years of colonisation.
“Liu attributed what Hong Kong is today to a hundred years of colonisation, so China would need 300 years of colonisation for it to become like Hong Kong.
“That was more than two decades ago, but in 2007, Liu stated that he did not want to take back what he had said in 1988, because it reflects a belief he retains.”
Sautman and Yan went on to explain how, not surprisingly, Liu’s nostalgia for colonialism, a period of history which the overwhelming majority of Chinese people associate with dire poverty, famine, oppression, shame and humiliation, is paralleled by his support for the full privatisation of the Chinese economy and the outright restoration of capitalism:
“In his 2007 statement, Liu claimed that in the economic sphere, progress could be chalked up to privatisation.
“Not surprisingly then, ‘Charter ’08’, a statement he mainly authored and that called for a Western-style political system in China, also urges a ‘free market’ transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership and the privatisation of land ownership.
“Privatisation in Russia resulted in a colossal robbery of public wealth by a few oligarchs.
“To the extent privatisation has occurred in China, it has mainly enriched former officials and has often worsened the conditions of labour.
“An agrarian capitalism based on landed property would have no assured benefit, but might bring back the execrable system of landlords and landless peasants.
“Further privatisation would likely increase the already high level of inequality in China, which is why surveys show that most Chinese oppose it.” (Medal Contention, South China Morning Post, 12 October 2010)
Having seen Liu’s grotesque enthusiasm for colonialism, and for capitalist and landlord tyranny, it should scarcely surprise readers of Lalkar that this Nobel Peace Prize winner should be a vociferous supporter of US imperialism’s bloody wars, whether against Korea and Vietnam in the past, or against Iraq and Afghanistan today. The obscenity of this is merely compounded if we recall that last year’s ‘lucky winner’ was none other than US President Obama, awarded at precisely the time he was intensifying the war in Afghanistan, as well as stepping up US attacks across the Afghan border into Pakistan.
Lest anyone consider we are exaggerating in our characterisation of Liu’s views, we are fortunate in that by far the best condemnation of this lackey emanates from his own mouth. We therefore do not hesitate to quote from him at length.
In a 2004 interview, Liu stated as follows:
“The US has not been without its flaws throughout history. But at least it is a free nation with the greatest ideals and sense of mission. The US…led the fight against communist totalitarianism in the Vietnam and Korean wars, and in the end won the 50-year cold war between freedom and totalitarianism. In the Mideast, the US… has consistently protected Israel, surrounded as it is by Arab nations. Without US protection, the Jewish people, who had long suffered persecution and endured genocide during WWII, would probably have been destroyed by the hate of the Muslim world. The hatred and terrorist attacks on the US by the Muslim world is clearly related to long-standing US support of Israel…
“In response to existential threats to civilisation such as terrorism, the US should not hesitate to use force. Only resolute determination will prevent another 9/11, reduce international terrorism, and reduce the threat of WMDs [weapons of mass destruction]. This choice [first strike] is less costly than a policy of appeasement, or waiting for another attack. This is not only in the national interest of the US, clearly linked to the security and survival of freedom in the United States, but is also in the long-term interests of humanity as a whole, because it is related to the survival of world peace and the development of global democracy…
“John Kerry [former Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States and currently the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee], like all the Western left, views unprincipled peaceful coexistence as the main content of ‘national interests’, and believes that the best means to getting along with other countries and maintaining world peace is to condone evil governments. So his criticisms of the ‘grand Mideast plan’ are utopian. Instead, he advocates that the US should only be concerned with its own security, and should not export freedom and democracy to the Mideast, or worry if Iraqis enjoy freedom.” (Translated by the China Study Group, 15 October 2010. The original Chinese version of Liu’s interview may be found here: http://www. observechina.net/info/artshow.asp?ID=33140)
A 24 October commentary carried by China’s Xinhua News Agency traced the ideological trajectory of the Nobel Prize in the Cold War and beyond:
“In the wake of the changing international climate during the Cold War, the peace prize gradually took on an ideologically-tainted cover, turning into an instrument of ‘peaceful evolution’ in countries whose political systems didn’t square with those of the West. From (Soviet dissident) Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov to (CIA-backed leader of Polish Solidarnosc) Lech Wałęsa to (last Soviet President who destroyed the USSR) Mikhail Gorbachev, the change in the peace prize winners is just a reflection of East Europe’s sea transformation, the disintegration of the former USSR, and the end of the Cold War with the West as victors…
“As the Cold War ended, the peace prize lapsed further into a sharp weapon for the Western countries to spread their values and development models – under the disguise of ‘human rights first’. In the last decade, half of the prize winners are ‘human rights fighters’ like Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and Iran’s human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi. We could barely see those who fight truly for peace and disarmament during the award presentation ceremony.” (‘Acting against the will of Alfred Nobel’
As the Xinhua article makes clear, the award to Liu Xiaobo is not some one off aberration, but rather reflects a consistent ideological and political agenda going back decades. As already noted, last year’s award went to Barack Obama, architect of the intensified Afghan war, vociferously supported by both Liu and all five of the Norwegian judges. It was equally no coincidence that, in 1989, the recipient was the Dalai Lama, the former Tibetan slave owner and feudal relic. 1989, of course, was not only a year in which the Dalai Lama stirred up riots in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, but above all when imperialism made a determined attempt to overthrow socialism in China, culminating in the 4 June incident in and around Tienanmen Square, and succeeded in doing so in the countries of central and eastern Europe. Clearly, the timing was far from fortuitous.
Besides looking at who receives the Nobel Prize, it is equally illuminating to see who does not receive it. In 2000, the prize was awarded to the then president of south Korea, Kim Dae Jung, for his contribution to “peace and reconciliation with north Korea in particular”. This followed his landmark visit to Pyongyang for a successful summit meeting with the socialist Korean leader Comrade Kim Jong Il. Kim Dae Jung’s prize was not undeserved, but it was a glaring omission (one even noted by Kim Dae Jung himself) that it was not shared with his north Korean dialogue partner. Indeed, in other broadly comparable instances, this has been the general practice of the prize committee. For example, in 1994, the prize was awarded severally to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. In 1993, it was jointly awarded to the South African liberation leader Nelson Mandela and the racist FW de Klerk. In 1978, to the Israeli and Egyptian leaders, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. And, in 1973, to US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Vietnam’s peace negotiator, Le Duc Tho – although the Vietnamese revolutionary took the principled position of refusing to share the prize with an imperialist war criminal.
Even in cases where the prize is jointly awarded, it can be done in such a way as to illustrate that its purpose is not even to be even handed (let alone unequivocally on the side of peace with justice). For example, in 1998, the prize was awarded to David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader who had placed every possible obstacle in the way of the Irish peace process, and only churlishly conceded in the end in the face of the prospect of being hung out to dry by his British masters. Trimble shared the prize with John Hume, leader of the ‘constitutional nationalist’ Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), which had never been a party to the conflict, save largely for wobbling and vacillating between the protagonists. Excluded from the prize was the republican political leader, Comrade Gerry Adams, Trimble’s principal interlocutor in the peace process, and the man who more than any ever deserves the credit for the substantive resolution of the armed conflict in Ireland.
Just as the awards to the Dalai Lama in 1989 and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 were by no means coincidental in their timing, the same can certainly be said for this year’s award, too. The basic contradiction between socialist China and the western imperialist powers is growing more acute. (See ‘Growing contention between China and US imperialism’, Lalkar, May/June 2010; ‘US steps up China encirclement strategy’, Lalkar, September/October 2010)
The Xinhua News Agency analysed the imperialist agenda and affirmed the Chinese people’s determination to remain on the socialist road as follows:
“Repeated blame on China via the Nobel Peace Prize reflects deep-rooted fear from the West on China’s rise. In recent years, China witnessed rapid development in comprehensive national strength, powerful economic growth and a stable general society, while the US and most European countries lack strength in economic recovery and lose their confidence faced with a stronger China. The West doesn’t want to see a strong China, both large and successful in many ways, having a political system different from the West. Using a series of events during the [build up to the] Beijing Olympics, on 14 March 2008 in Lhasa, on 5 July 2009 in Urumqi, from the Google retreat incident to the Diaoyu Islands conflicts [between China and Japan], the US and other countries, faced with fruitless efforts in ‘transforming’ China with all kinds of pressure, take up again the political tool of the Nobel Peace Prize, in an attempt to back anti-Socialism forces and depend on them to continue making trouble in China and stirring up a new anti-China wave. Those who assess and manipulate the prize hold a vicious hope that by taking the prize as a breakthrough, China will end in endless conflicts due to political divisions and in the end they can realise their purpose of defeating China and causing it to collapse.
“Massive facts prove that these attempts by Western anti-China forces will end in vain. The road of socialism… is a rightful choice by history and the people and can be tested by both time and practice. We can only take the path of socialism, otherwise we will lose our position and fall under others’ subjection. The act of using the Nobel Peace Prize to pressure China reflects a grim situation China faces right now to fight against westernisation and disintegration. We need to be sober enough to tell right from wrong and keep cautious. It’s inevitable to come across some obstacles on the road. As long as we keep in the right direction with a determined faith and a calm and united mentality, we can hold firm the helm and have spaces to both advance and retreat against the backdrop of a complex international situation and build China into a prosperous, democratic, civilised and harmonious, modernised socialist country and achieve the grand revitalisation of the Chinese nation together with the progress of other countries in the world” (Xinhua, op. cit.).
Lalkar, together with all progressive elements in the working class-movement, strongly condemns the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the anti-socialist, war-mongering criminal Liu Xiaobo, and once again demands:
Hands off China!