For the second time, the Nobel Peace Prize goes to a person identified as non-peaceful in Beijing's political who's who.
Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 awardee, is behind bars serving a 11-year term for "openly slandering and inciting others to overthrow our country's State power," according to the verdict at his trial.
The Nobel Committee said it was determined to honor "the foremost symbol" of the "struggle for human rights" in China.
Some may have expectations that such a prize will effect changes inside China in the direction they desire. But it can do little except expose, and in some ways highlight, the deep and wide ideological rift between this country and the West.
A man judged a "criminal who violated Chinese law" by a Chinese court of law, is hailed in the West as a "worthy winner" and "prominent human rights defender".
Peace, in Beijing's lexicon, stands for a good rapport among nations, at the heart of which lies mutual respect and non-interference in each other's domestic affairs. This year's Nobel Peace Prize, like the 1989 award to the Dalai Lama, angered the Chinese government because it is the West that is once again trying to interfere in domestic issues.
And, perhaps to some people's disbelief, this Nobel Peace Prize, as was true 21 years back, angered not just the government.
Most Chinese would prefer to handle their own affairs without outside interference. As ordinary citizens find more channels with which to be heard, and the government grows more responsive to public concerns, there is greater confidence that domestic affairs can be sorted out without any interference from the West.
Not that the average Chinese does not covet better guarantees and protection for their rights and interests. They want their government to be clean and efficient. They are angry at corruption and injustice. They complain and protest. They stand up against abuse.
Liu's award is a provocation to China. And every time the West waves a stick, relations deteriorate. That is against the Nobel Committee's proclaimed purpose.
Nor will all Chinese embrace such gestures with appreciation and gratitude. Whether or not it has to do with our collective memories of Western abuse, this nation will not allow its own home affairs to be dictated by the West. Few would like to see their government upbraided by a condescending Western party.
Like it or not, the Nobel Peace Prize broadens the suspicion that there is a Western plot to contain a rising China.
The author is a copy editor with China Daily.
(China Daily 10/11/2010 page8)