China Perspective

Nobel Peace Prize politically distorted

Updated: 2010-10-19 14:08
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A few days ago, the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to award Liu Xiaobo, an imprisoned Chinese law violator, this year's Nobel Peace Prize. This move, which gives no respect to China's legalization and intervenes in China's internal affairs, prompts some Western scholars to question whether the Nobel committee's structure is reasonable, whether it's loyal to Mr. Nobel's will and whether the committee's operation is independent from other forces. The Chinese people also receive the message: the Nobel Peace Prize has become one that has gone astray to a path of political distortion.

Over a century ago, Sir Alfred Nobel raised three criteria for the peace prize in his will, that is, the prize winner should be somebody who promotes friendship between countries and national unity, who promotes disarmament and who has made most efforts or done best contributions to the convening of peace conferences. The three criteria are embodied as one - his wish for world peace. That's why the Nobel Peace Prize medal is engraved with the words - "peace and friendship to All Nations".

Over the past century, especially in the recent decades, disputes deriving from the prize continue and questions and critics about it have been on the rise. The reason, as we see, is that now the prize, with criteria of its authorization too full of the committee members' political views, has departed afar from Mr. Nobel's will.

Fredrik S. Heffermehl, a Norwegian jurist who carefully goes through Mr. Nobel's will and the winners of the Peace Prize over the past century, reckons that the committee has made the prize suited to its own political needs and violated the prize's founder's will to encourage reduction and elimination of arms.

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In the past 21 years, the committee has awarded the prize to two Chinese -- one is the Dalai Lama, and the other is Liu Xiaobo. The former is a separatist who advocates disunity of the Chinese ethnic groups and the nation; the latter is a criminal in jail who is charged with crimes of subverting the state. What they have done has nothing to do with any one criterion of awarding this prize in Mr. Nobel's will. As Heffermehl reiterates in an interview while deliberating on its studies, to award Liu the peace prize is inappropriate. Liu advocates that "China should be a colony for another three centuries" and "China should be divided into eighteen nations." He is by no means the "peace champion" in Nobel's will, but rather a criminal who has long been instigating subversion of state power.

Alfred Nobel in his will asked the Norwegian parliament to form the Committee of Five to take responsibility for selecting and awarding the Peace Prize. But the reputation, not the criteria, won so much over the Storting (the parliament) that it decides to only allocate the committee members seats to the five top political parties in the Storting for the purpose of favoring all the political groups, one seat for each party, thus making five veteran politicians to share the five seats. The distribution of committee seats has made the prize actually a "prize of the Norwegian Storting".

An obvious feature of the committee members is that they are all veteran politicians in Norway whose views and values were formed during the Cold War and who observe the world politically. They have gone opposite to Nobel's wish to promote peace with the prize. They also hold deep biased views to changes in the current global setup, especially to the rapid growth of emerging nations such as China. With such a group of members, the committee is certain to be coated with strong ideological features.

21 years ago when the committee awarded the prize to the Dalai Lama, its chairman declared it meant to use this to influence China. The case is similar with Liu Xiaobo this time. In the recent two years or so, some Western politicians, scholars and non-government organizations hostile to China put in a lot of efforts to influence the committee; some of the committee members also acknowledge their "responsibilities" to act accordingly. The two sides coincide with each other and coordinate well. One can notice their surprising accord in the issue of "influencing China" by observing the shows of the Western political figures after the announcement of the prize winner.

A political commentator of Russia's Ria Novosti News Agency points out in a recently-published article that the Nobel Peace Prize has long been politicized to extremes with the selection of the prize winner subjected to positions of some Western countries. "In the past few decades, the Committee's sympathies have been with the United States-NATO-Western Europe camp," said Nikolai Troitsky.

As the selection of its winner is not independent in practice, the Nobel Peace Prize has been reduced again to a tool of some Western politicians and manipulated and led astray to the path of politics.