The decision of Norway’s Nobel Peace Prize committee to award the prize to the Chinese human rights dissident Liu Xiaobo is good news to India. As they say 2010 is the annus horribilis for China because this year its carefully cultivated image of a mild and cultured country quietly concentrating its energies on economic development has been badly dented. First the stand-offs with the Philippines over Hong Kong Chinese tourists killed in a botched hostage rescue, with the South Korea over the North Korea sinking a naval ship of the former and with Japan over fishing off the disputed Senkaku-Diaoyu islands and now the ultimate ignominy of a dissident Chinese citizen, doing an eleven year jail term for his “crime” of authoring the Charter 08 for slowly opening up and democratising China, being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!
China is really scared of human rights campaigns by its citizens and has been trying its best to divert their attention by taking on India over the “disputed territory” of Jammu and Kashmir or over Arunachal Pradesh which China has christened as the South Tibet and by taking on the United States over demands for revaluing the renminbi. For this purpose, it has also used its spat with the developed world over the international carbon emission regulations to good effect. But the Nobel Peace Prize has really hit China in its soft under-belly, the more it would protest against the prize the more attention, within the country and internationally, it would draw to its record of human rights violations. To add insult to injury, the Nobel Peace Prize committee has made out a clear case that in denying human rights and civic liberties to its citizens China has gone against the country’s constitution.
It is India’s fond hope that the democratic forces should come to the fore in China. A more democratic China would be less of a threat to India, after all no two democracies are known to have been at war with each other.