Big mistake to award Nobel Peace Prize to noncontributor to peace: Norwegian professor
2010/10/13

OSLO, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- It is a big mistake to grant this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo as the Chinese receiver made no contribution to peace or conflict reduction, a Norwegian professor said Tuesday.

"Liu Xiaobo has, as far as I know, never contributed in any conflict-reducing activity or take part in peace-related activities," Professor Arnulf Kolstad of Norwegian University of Science and Technology told Xinhua.

"I therefore cannot see that the peace prize winner fulfills the most important criteria in Nobel's testament. Therefore it is a mistake," added the professor of social psychology and China expert.

His idea reflected criticism of the Nobel Committee's decision, as Liu is a convicted criminal of agitation aimed at subverting the government who was sentenced to 11 years in jail in late 2009.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday blasted the awarding as showing "no respect for China's judicial system," saying that Beijing questions the "true intention" behind the selection.

The Nobel Committee "wants to promote Western values all over the world even if the way it is done is not very relevant and even contradictory to the purpose," said Kolstad.

The professor explicitly rejected the Norwegian body's argument that Liu's struggle for human rights, especially the freedom of speech, and a Western parliamentary democratic system in China is a prerequisite to world peace.

Many countries that have long followed the Western political system, such as the United States, Britain and Norway, have been among the most aggressive military powers in the last 50 years, occupying and starting wars in others countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, he noted.

Ironically, Kolstad said, many in the West still believe that their system is the best in the world and has to be exported to all other countries, "in some countries by force and wars, and in other countries by supporting those who are believed to represent these values and ideas."

"To state that parliamentary democracy and freedom of speech is a guarantee for peace and end of armed aggression is a mistake," he said.

Commenting on the Nobel Committee's claim that it is independent of political influence, the professor said: "There is definitely relationship to the official political system in Norway." He noted that the committee leader is also a former Norwegian prime minister and president of the parliament.

China has made remarkable progress in human rights, such as plugging starvation, curbing crimes and promoting food safety, which are "important not only for a developing and still poor country like China, but for developed countries as well," Kolstad said.

"In this way, the Western world can learn human rights from China," he added.

Meanwhile, China carries a "relational" culture where people seek relationships and harmony and are less inclined to stay out as independent and autonomous human beings than those in Western societies, Kolstad said.

It is also simply unfair to label China as an undemocratic country, he stressed, explaining that China adopts "another kind of relationship between those in power and the people."

"The parliamentary system with more parties is not the only way to give people influence on political decisions and the future of their country. We have to accept that other countries choose other political and democratic solutions, based on their culture and level of development," he said.

"I do not know if it is more democratic to have a system where presidential candidates have to be extremely rich to run for presidency," he added.

Lurking underneath the West's uneasiness and faultfinding with China, Kolstad pointed out, is that many in the West do not like to see a big and in many way successful country like China having another political system, based on other cultural values than is accepted in the West.

"I look at China as a peaceful, not aggressive country compared with most developed countries in the world. China does not take part in wars, it tries to solve international problems with dialogue," he said.

"I therefore think it is unfair to give a Peace Prize to the opposition and dissidents in China instead of giving it to the president, as in the U.S."

Suggest To A Friend
  Print