Global Security Headlines

Monday, October 11, 2010

The China Conundrum

Top Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo, 54, won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 in a clear rebuke to Beijing.

Will he be allowed to collect the award given he has been in a Chinese jail for over 10 years? The state has never defended his arrest.

Now his wife has been arrested as well after visiting him.

This recent news in the China-sphere comes amidst rumors of a currency war with the US, a recent heated territorial dispute with Japan, a military surge in Asia,  and becoming the world's second largest economy.

The China conundrum is: Can an authoritarian regime continue to prosper economically without political freedom?

So far, Beijing has managed to keep its bargain with its people after the Tiananmen Square disaster in 1989: you may get rich, but do not ask for political freedom.

Even the widely-respected scholar Robert Kagan believes economic freedom can be separated from political freedom.

Liu Xiaobo, however, rejects the false dichotomy by demanding political freedom to match the economic freedom at the price of his own.

Some observers believe the false dichotomy works as long as the Chinese economy continues to prosper.

China has made revolutionary economic progress since the 1960s and rightly seeks its place at the leadership table of the world community.

Rights and respect come with responsibility.

The absence of political freedom for its citizens will continue to undermine its claim to the mantle as a responsible global leader until Lui Xiobo and his countrymen can respectfully dissent without the fear of state repression.
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