“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
What has our society become when we begin to bestow the highest distinction in peacemaking to warmongers? Eager to rectify their mistake of giving last year’s Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama, who just signed a $60-billion war funding bill this summer, the Norwegian “Minipax” moved heaven and earth to find a winner who won’t embarrass them this time around.
Their choice fell upon Liu Xiaobo, a well-known Chinese dissident who was thrown in jail for co-signing Charter 08, a manifesto signed by Chinese intellectuals that demands democratic reforms in China. The Nobel Peace Prize committee thought they had it all figured out. Liu doesn’t have the power to send troops to “troubled” regions. His signature cannot declare war. Little did they know, this seemingly harmless, mild-mannered dissident turns out to be a staunch militarist.
While millions of Americans filled the streets to protest the invasion of Iraq, Liu argued in an open letter (“American attack on Iraq,” Shi ji sha long lun tan, 2003) that the war was good for humankind, as were all other wars fought by the U.S., with the sole exception of the Vietnam War. This apostle of peace and democracy carries the torch of American patriotism even further than many homegrown, flag-waving Republicans.
Trying to emulate Martin Luther King, Jr., Liu talked about “counter[ing] the hostility of the regime with the best intentions, and defus[ing] hate with love.” (“I have no enemies,” Foreign Policy, December 23, 2009). This liberal democrat likes to cloak himself with non-violent messages while handing out guns to average Joes and Janes and encouraging them to ship out to spread democracy. Liu’s fellow liberal dissident, Jiao Guobiao, even wrote a poem about how much he wanted to fight in Iraq:
If not this life I want to be an American soldier in my next life
I would like to join and I wish to die
Shoot me! Shoot me!
In 1988, when interviewed by a Hong Kong journalist, Liu declared that China would have been better under colonial rule for 300 years: “In 100 years of colonialism, Hong Kong has changed to what we see today. With China being so big, of course it would take 300 years of colonialism for it to be able to transform into how Hong Kong is today. I have my doubts as to whether 300 years would be enough.” Suffice it to say, he is parroting the colonial ideology that the savages of the third world need to be civilized with whips and chains.
The likes of Liu have been put in the spotlight by the Western media as the leaders of China’s democratic movement. There’s no doubt that China needs deeper democracy. However, these liberals cannot be trusted to lead the movement. They are notoriously timorous, inconsistent, and half-hearted. Their democracy is the democracy of the propertied class.
Charter 08, despite its pleasant democratic phraseology, is in reality calling for more privatization and an expansion of the free market. Prominent economist Mao Yushi, the third signatory of the charter, claimed that “the minimum wage is meaningless and not beneficial for the poor” and that “only by protecting the interests of the rich preferentially can we make the poor rich.”
This doesn’t mean that China is a worker-friendly state. Far from it: China is moving rapidly toward the free market and is privatizing public sectors left and right. However, it wants to do so on its own terms. While liberals like Liu cause a massive headache to Chinese officials because of their international popularity, the real threat to the Chinese government lies in the growing strikes by millions of workers who are thrown into factories by the thousands and there learn the true meaning of socialism.