Who is Liu Xiaobo, and what does the Nobel mean?

‘I have no enemies’ Liu Xiaobo in his own words from 2009, published at Foreign Policy (中文). This is published by Human Rights in China, headquartered in New York and Hong Kong.

The scene outside Liu’s house. Used under Creative Commons from China Digital Times, by Jordan Pouille.

What kind of man is he? Evan Osnos describes Liu when they last met in 2007: “Liu had always been a classic type of the Chinese intelligentsia—lean as a greyhound, bespectacled, with a wry, knowing sense of humor—but on this December day he looked even gaunter than usual: his belt looked it like was wrapped nearly twice around his waist, and his winter coat drooped. Unlike some Chinese scholars popular in the West, he exuded no aroma of privilege: he had no dual appointments at universities abroad, no obvious awareness that he could be the toast of New York or Berlin, no Davos-worthy polish. Nor did he have the posture of a firebrand.” [more]

Liu Xiaobo, the first ‘digital’ peace laureate: Jillian C. York will not be the only person to note the importance of the Internet in Liu’s activism and his prominence. Luckily, as one of the first, her argument strikes a balance between celebrating the prize as an affirmation of Internet activism and framing the Internet as merely a tool for individual actors. [more]

Has the world been too tolerant of Chinese authoritarianism? Gady Epstein observes: “Many of us around the world, including perhaps even members of the Nobel committee, have shown something akin to tolerance for China’s authoritarian instincts over the last decade, as the memories of Tiananmen Square faded and the era of the Chinese boom dawned.” Aside from the unfortunate phrasing “authoritarian instincts,” this is an interesting point. I wouldn’t expect a huge change though. [more]

Hurting Sino-Norwegian relations. The Chinese Foreign Ministry followed its earlier statements on a potential Liu win with an admonition that the prize was being awarded to the wrong kind of person and that it threatened bilateral relations between China and Norway, the home of the prize. China Media Project will not be the last to note that reporting on this matter is nowhere to be found in Chinese media. [more]

Obama’s demand: “We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.” [more]

UPDATE: And a few seconds before I hit “publish” came the China Beat round-up, which is also excellent and covers different ground.

UPDATE II:

UPDATE III: Ella Chou offers her first thoughts.

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Since 2006, Transpacifica has been a blog, and collection of resources on East Asian politics and international relations in the Asia-Pacific, with a special focus on China, Japan, and the United States. Transpacifica is edited and primarily written by Graham Webster, Research Scholar and Senior Fellow for U.S.–China Relations, Yale Law School China Center. Get in touch, or follow Graham on Twitter.

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