Giving Credit When Credit Is Due

A Light in Oslo
by Guy Sorman, City Journal

The Peace Prize has always tilted leftward: remember that recent winners have included not just Obama but Al Gore and Jimmy Carter. Selecting Liu Xiaobo, by contrast, is a real game-changer. Instead of bowing to the powers that be, the Nobel Committee is challenging the most oppressive power of all: the Communist Party of China.

Liu Xiaobo is only one among many so-called Chinese dissidents, but he happens to be the most articulate and the most unbending. He has been offered many opportunities to leave China and live comfortably on some American campus. Liu, however, knows that the good fight must go on, and he has no desire to lose contact with his fellow Chinese citizens or squander his legitimacy by going into exile. Moreover, Liu has articulated most explicitly what many Chinese want: a normal life in a normal country. What Liu calls “normal” is genuine democracy and free markets, not the corrupt Chinese version of those concepts.

Apparently, the Nobel Committee was not-so-subtly threatened by a Chinese official, but they went and did the right thing anyway. I don’t believe this completely makes up for the execrable choices they’ve made in the past (like, for example, awarding Obama the Peace Prize for his campaign promises and bypassing Greg Mortenson, who has, you know, actually built schools for girls in Afghanistan), but it’s certainly a good start.


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