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The Lonesome Death of Liu Xiaobo
Xi Jinping, New Defender of Liberal Order, Lets Chinese Dissident Die

Seven years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, China’s most famous political prisoner has died, locked away under the heavily guarded watch of the Chinese state. The New York Times

Liu Xiaobo, the renegade Chinese intellectual who kept vigil on Tiananmen Square in 1989 to protect protesters from encroaching soldiers, promoted a pro-democracy charter that brought him an 11-year prison sentence and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 2010 while locked away, died on Thursday. He was 61. […]

The Chinese government revealed he had liver cancer in late June only after it was virtually beyond treatment. Officially, Mr. Liu gained medical parole. But even as he faced death, he was kept silenced and under guard in a hospital in northeastern China, still a captive of the authoritarian controls that he had fought for decades.

As Bill Bishop points out in his Sinocism newsletter, Liu’s death will be difficult for even Beijing’s most dedicated apologists to spin. “The last Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to be effectively killed by his own government was Carl Ossietsky, in Germany in 1938,” Bishop notes. “Does Xi care that the the likely precedent here for Beijing will be pre-World War II Nazi Germany?”

Another question follows from that one: will the West’s newfound defenders of Xi Jinping care that the man they have anointed in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as the champion of the “liberal world order” drove a courageous dissident to his death? Or will they persist in the delusion that Xi is a liberal darling, content to overlook his human rights abuses so long as he delivers rhetorical paeans to globalization and needles Trump on the world stage?

Sadly, the answer is not clear. Many in the West have already proven easy marks as Xi has tried to reinvent himself as a principled defender of international values. All it took was a single speech at Davos for the plaudits to pour in: China has become the “global grown-up,” claimed the front cover of The Economist. Beijing would now be seen “as the linchpin of global economic stability,” raved Bessma Momani in Newsweekwhile “Trump’s America [would] no longer play the role of enforcing the liberal rules and norms the country once coveted and benefited from.” Susan Shirk, a former China hand in the Clinton administration, perhaps went the furthest in singing Xi’s praises to The Guardian:

“Let’s lavish praise on them … I think it was super-smart of Xi Jinping to go to Davos and give the speech … More credit to him, really.” […]

“I believe the United States actually has sponsored China’s emergence as a constructive global power – not just allowed it but really, actively encouraged it – and I don’t see anything bad about that. The only bad thing is that the United States is not just sitting by the sidelines, but actively subverting [the status quo].”

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  • Lyle Smith

    Smart set anti-Americanism is insanely unintelligent. This is why technocrats should not run our lives.

  • PCB

    Martyrs for a cause can have a great impact, sometimes greater than when they were alive. May Mr.Liu Xiaobo’s dream become his legacy.

    • Lyle Smith


    • ltlee1

      Zero chance.
      He did say a lot of nonsense to Chinese people trying to elevate his profile among Chinese besides being a dissident. One such non-sense is “China needs to be a Western colony for 300 years.” Not many care about him. Some hate him. Most don’t bother to.

  • Observe&Report

    The fact that part of the so-called “liberal” elite ever considered China to be a liberal country, let alone a defender of the liberal order, goes to show how morally and intellectually bankrupt they really are, and I doubt Liu Xiaobo’s death will change that.

    The “liberal” elite doesn’t actually care about liberal values. They like the idea of liberal values, and they especially like to be seen to be in favour of liberal values, because the appearance of virtue and moral superiority are central to the status quo that keeps them in power.

    I don’t usually quote scripture, but no one said it better than Jesus himself:

    “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

    Matthew 6:5

    That sounds kind of like President Xi singing the praises of globalisation at Davos, and boy did he get his reward.

  • Bankotsu

    When did China say that it was defender of “liberal order”? What kind of poppycock is that?

    • Lyle Smith

      Did someone say China said? Read the article.

    • ltlee1

      In comparison with Trump who is against free trade and the Paris Agreement, Xi does appear to be the defender of “liberal order”

  • Bankotsu

    “Xi Jinping, New Defender of Liberal Order, Lets Chinese Dissident Die”

    As if China has some sort of magic cure for cancer and denied Liu Xiao Bo the cure. Pui. Garbage propaganda.

    • Suzy Dixon

      Well, we know one thing for sure. YOU certainly benefit from the liberal order. You are accessing Disqus to write your comment, and Disqus is One of the many thousands of banned websites because it’s a form of interaction and social media that the communist autocracy does not control.

      • Unelected Leader

        Suzy you’re going to get banned from Disqus because you just punch that guy in the face ha!

        • Muhammad Peace be Upon Me

          She did not punch, she threw the kitchen sink!

      • Bankotsu

        I don’t benefit from it. I am banned from commenting on many websites and forums.

        • Suzy Dixon

          You might be banned by a webmaster, poor you. The website is not bannd entirely by an unelected regime.

          • Spencer

            It raises the question as to whether someone benefits from being given the opportunity to make a fool of oneself in public. I suspect those webmasters did him a service by concealing him from public ridicule.

      • TPAJAX

        China is very liberal! You have the liberty to not access thousands of movies and websites, and you have the liberty to praise the dear leader whom you don’t even get to vote for and who will shoot you in the head at Tiananmen if you protest

      • ltlee1

        Wrong. Disqus is not banned.
        Actually, you can comment on China’s People Daily and GlobalTimes and etc with Disqus.

    • ltlee1

      Western presses are getting tire of criticizing Trump, Liu’s death presents an opportunity to criticize China.

  • Che Guevara

    China was very fortunate that the Tiananmen Square demonstrations were violently suppressed. Otherwise China would have experienced democratic reforms and privatizations similar to those of Russia under Yeltsin in the 1990s. China would have experienced a financial collapse and dismemberment like Russia did. Tens of millions of people would have been left destitute, and there would have been civil wars, with possibly hundreds of thousands of victims. Democracy and privatization are four letter words, just with a few extra letters.

    • BlackRoseML

      Too bad the Euromaidan was not violently suppressed. Now Ukraine is subjugated by Banderite fascists under the influence of Western state departments.

  • KremlinKryptonite

    Who’s been saying that the CCP is the defender a/any liberal order? I did not know that ham sandwiches could talk! Certainly anyone saying that has the IQ of a ham sandwich.
    I guess I’ve never heard anyone say such an inane thing because the regime in Beijing is just so illiberal and not a democracy. But then again I’ve been out of the west for a long time now, maybe things really are that bad out there, and my few, very brief, trips back didn’t give me a chance to hear it?

    • Unelected Leader

      Oh come on, a ham sandwich is smarter than someone saying china is liberal, or defends liberalism

    • Bankotsu

      Why would China go and defend “liberal order”, aka U.S. global hegemony? How does that serve China’s interests? It’s senseless.

      • KremlinKryptonite

        The US has an order? You need to define such a thing more clearly because its just a vague talking point with no substance, most often.
        Whatever the US order is or isn’t, it has built mainland china and the rest of Asia to new heights, so do your defining carefully.

        Also, have to be careful and say CCP/CPC, and not simply china. Saying china implies the people, and we don’t know what Chinese people want in aggregate because its not a democracy and there is mass censorship, i.e. they aren’t free to have any opinion they choose, poor souls.

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