The Party is already having convulsions.
Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) — Two Chinese dissidents are among this year’s Nobel Peace Prize contenders, prompting moves by leaders in Beijing to pre-emptively counter possible negative attention on their human rights record.
Gao Zhisheng and Hu Jia are deemed top candidates by Oslo’s International Peace Research Institute, which handicaps competition for the award that will be announced Oct. 10. It’s preceded by Nobel prizes for medicine today, physics tomorrow, chemistry on Oct. 8 and literature on Oct. 9.
A decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo to honor Hu or Gao may increase tensions between the West and the government of the world’s most populous nation.
“I hope the committee will make the right decision and not challenge the original purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize or hurt Chinese people’s feelings,” said Liu Jianchao, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, on Sept. 25. The prize should go to those who “truly contributed” to world peace, he said.
We certainly wouldn’t want anyone to have his feelings hurt. But if these two guys didn’t contribute to the betterment of humanity and to world peace, no one did.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.