Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel. UPDATE: Sec Gen Cautiously Reacts

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize today. But it is unlikely that he will make it to Oslo to pick up the prize in person as he is currently serving an 11 year prison sentence.

The west, naturally, is heaping praise on the decision.  China has called it a “blasphemy,” saying:

The Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to people who “promote national harmony and international friendship, who promote disarmament and peace”. Those are Mr Nobel’s wishes.

Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who violated Chinese law.

It’s a complete violation of the principles of the prize and an insult to the Peace Prize itself for the Nobel committee to award the prize to such a person.

In recent years, Chinese-Norwegian relations have maintained sound development, which is conducive to the two countries and two peoples’ interests.

The Nobel Committee awarding Liu this prize, which runs contrary to the principle of the Peace Prize, will bring damage to two-way relations.

My question is this: Does awarding Liu Xiaobo the prize provide a boon to Chinese liberals or does it embolden Beijing hardliners who pursue what the west might consider an antagonistic foreign policies?   Any China watchers out there care to explain the kind of effect this announcement might have in the ruling corridors of Beijing?

Also, read Liu Xiaobo’s Charter 08.

UPDATE:  You know who I don’t envy today? The Secretary General. If he is expresses strong supportive of the Nobel Prize decision, he risks crossing the Chinese–who have veto power over his renomination next year.  On the other hand, if he is not supportive enough he risks letting down the ideals of the organization that he leads.  A tough spot for sure.  Here’s how he threaded that needle:

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo of China is a recognition of the growing international consensus for improving human rights practices and culture around the world.

The Secretary-General has consistently emphasised the importance of human rights along with development and peace and security as the three main pillars of the work of the United Nations.

Over the past years, China has achieved remarkable economic advances, lifted millions out of poverty, broadened political participation and steadily joined the international mainstream in its adherence to recognized human rights instruments and practices.

The Secretary-General expresses his sincere hope that any differences on this decision will not detract from advancement of the human rights agenda globally or the high prestige and inspirational power of the Award.