Michael Ignatieff silent on Nobel Prize Committee’s “Megaphone Diplomacy” with China

Jailed Chinese pro-democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Xiaobo was arrested in 2008 for being an author of “Charter 08″, a manifesto demanding greater free speech, improved human rights, and open and free elections in China. His award is a statement for those seeking democratic reform in the world’s most populous nation and is a positive impetus for liberty in the world.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following statement regarding Xiaobo’s prize,

“Our government has expressed concerns in the past about his imprisonment…

I would hope the fact that he is now a Nobel Peace Prize winner would cause our friends in the Chinese government to look seriously at that issue of his release from prison.

But, as I say, I think more than anything, we’re delighted for him and send him our congratulations.”

In the past, the Prime Minister’s vocal criticism of China over its human rights record has been a point of conflict between Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Harper.

Ignatieff, during a tour to China earlier this year criticized the Prime Minister,

[A Chinese student] said Ignatieff properly praised China for pulling so many people out of poverty with the success of its economic engine, but he had avoided saying anything substantial about human rights challenges, “the fact, for example, that there are many activists currently imprisoned for no apparent reason. He just avoided that.”

In an interview, Ignatieff said he didn’t believe in “megaphone” diplomacy — a reference to Prime Minister Harper’s early, high-profile, public criticisms of China on human rights.

The Nobel Prize Committee released this statement regarding its awarding of the 2010 Peace Prize to Xiaobo,

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2010
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the “fraternity between nations” of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.

Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal. The country now has the world’s second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Scope for political participation has also broadened.

China’s new status must entail increased responsibility. China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights. Article 35 of China’s constitution lays down that “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”. In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China’s citizens.

For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China. He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power”. Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China’s own constitution and fundamental human rights.

The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Michael Ignatieff released a statement congratulating Barack Obama on his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize the day it was announced that the US president had won it. However, it’s Monday, and Ignatieff has yet to weigh in on the Nobel Committee’s bold statement that may promote positive change and more freedom in China.

Comments

comments

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    In your opinion you can separate our government from our country. That is convenient for you.

    You think the current government is not legit and does not represent us. (I get it, Liberals are terrified any old white man in Alberta are going to destroy Canada)

    Rational people don’t share the views of Liberals and fewer people will share in your “social justice” worldview at the next ballot.

    2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 had a trend and one direction for Liberals. Can you feel it?

    Don’t worry your party won’t be reduced to 2 seats. Remember John Turner?

  • Gabby in QC

    “carping on about what the Libs or others are saying about past selections is irrelevant …”
    Carping? Show me where I “carped” about what the Liberals said.
    Not that I have to justify myself to you, but I’ve been quite vocal elsewhere about the Conservatives’ communications strategy, and blaming the outcome on Ignatieff was a communications failure, as far as I’m concerned. That bestows far more importance upon Ignatieff than he deserves.

    If you’re referring to Grenell, Frum & Ivison, however, I believe those references are quite relevant, since particularly Grenell & Frum have worked in those UN circles … so you’ll understand why I give far more weight to their perspective than to your dismissive “Canada didn’t effectively make the case for Canada.”

    “… citation? (or are you just looking for a sweeping, dramatic, if unsupportable flourish to end on?)”
    Oh, no! not another commenter who demands links … but seldom provides any AND if they are provided, dismisses them as irrelevant, or as examples of conservative hacks.
    No, I don’t need citations in this case. The “sweeping, dramatic flourish” is provided daily in Question Period, and I’m not in the mood to skim through Hansard.

  • Anonymous

    you’re both… adorable.

    Liz: This country sets and administers foreign policy through the wishes of the UN?

    …what? I said the following (pronoun “this” replaced with full reference for those with reading, erm, challenges)

    [issue of getting a seat on the UN security council] is about how the sitting government sets and administers the foreign policy of this country.

    It’s only been the subject of this particular chain for the last… 12 comments.

    can’t forget CD. You are in fine form today:
    In your opinion you can separate our government from our country. That is convenient for you.

    I have no idea what your point is. The sitting government sets and administers Canada’s foreign policy – yes or no?

    You think the current government is not legit and does not represent us. (I get it, Liberals are terrified any old white man in Alberta are going to destroy Canada)

    There’s no way anyone can construe that from what I’ve written (emphasis on what I’ve written, not the made-up taunts of the nefarious Lieberal goblins that inhabit your imagination)

    To put the brakes on your delerium – yes, I actually think the current Harper government is legit, and is responsible for representing Canada to the world, PARTICULARLY in regards to foreign policy. That’s why this seat thing matters.

  • Anonymous

    Carping? Show me where I “carped” about what the Liberals said.

    …X-Squeeze me? I earned my first “obtuse” badge from you (“surprisingly obtuse”… quel honneur…) for not acknowledging your carping enough.

    If you’re referring to Grenell, Frum & Ivison, however, I believe those references are quite relevant

    … I agree with the relevance of Grenell’s info, but it too points out the current government’s failure to improve the rapport with our single largest trading partner and neighbour.

    I mostly respect David Frum, but in this case his piece was mainly a coach’s lockerroom speech after losing a game.

    Of course there were many outside factors in the loss of the seat. But many factors were in Harper’s control. Focusing on the outside factors while ignoring our government’s foreign policy is like an athlete blaming their loss to a distracting crowd, or the wind, or an elbow from the Swiss. Oops that’s an Olympic reference. Sorry.

    Oh, no! not another commenter who demands links … but seldom provides any AND if they are provided, dismisses them as irrelevant, or as examples of conservative hacks.

    … and out comes the BS.

    I provide more links than just about anyone here, with the possible exception of CD. If we narrow the category to relevant links, I probably provide more than anyone. Ok, maybe not. But … I provide lotsa links. Do your homework, or don’t post the charge.

    Those wishing not to have their links tagged as conservative hacks, should probably not link to conservative hacks.

  • Liz J

    Hey, Canadiansense, you replying to me???

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    I was replying to the apologist for the Liberals. He must be going through a great deal of pain lately.
    The Polls this week have been brutal. The balance sheet and membership drop off in 2010 vs 2009 embarrassing.
    Have you seen the financial state of the vacated ridings by the Liberals?

    Both are under $ 12k , 11-13%.

    Compared to CPC range $ 56k- 149k, 71%-146%

    http://www.punditsguide.ca/2010/10/succession-planning-and-the-retiring-incumbent-mp/

    I almost feel sorry for the Liberals. John Turner Part II (50 seats?)

  • Liz J

    It’s hard to feel sorry for a political party that won’t face up to their own problems and try to solve them before attempting to foist themselves on the public. I can’t feel any sympathy in this case.

  • http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/ Canadiansense

    Our government need a better opponent to challenge the government. Instead of substance we get endless political games. Ignatieff promised to not repeat the mistakes of Dion or sit on his hands.
    He has failed to fix his organization making it competitive. He has failed to win trust or put forward any adult conversation. I have lost count how many lines in the sand he has drawn to only run away when a vote of confidence was available.

    We need an effective opposition. No a party of props and political drive by smears.

  • Gabby in QC

    “I earned my first “obtuse” badge …”
    Oh, poor Kenny! Feeling unappreciated again? Geez, if I’d read someone writing something like “surprisingly obtuse” about me, I might have interpreted it as a compliment, albeit an indirect one …
    The word “surprisingly” suggests you usually grasp quite readily someone’s comments. But you take it as a putdown instead. Oh well, if you enjoy wallowing in self-pity, go ahead.

    As far as our foreign policy is concerned, actually, what you said two days ago (Oct 13) sums it all up: “it was in their best interest to choose Canada over Portugal.” There! Happy? I’m quoting you to validate my point!

    Everyone in that UN room acted in their own self-interest:
    • the Arab bloc probably voted against Canada because this PM is pro-Israel
    • EU countries probably voted for Portugal because they want to enhance their own weight at the UN
    • smaller eastern European countries probably voted for Portugal hoping to have its support in turn in their attempts to get into the EU
    • underdeveloped countries probably voted against Canada because our government doesn’t believe in giving a blank cheque without some accountability
    • some countries probably voted against Canada because our government believes in reforming the UN
    • some countries probably voted against Canada because they don’t like maple syrup and would have preferred a paid holiday in an exotic location.
    So, we should accept the verdict and move on, and continue to act according to our own Canadian values.

    “I provide more links than just about anyone here …”
    Kenn2, doing a Rodney Dangerfield? You’re getting whiny again.
    I notice links only in discussions that interest me or that I participate in. I don’t go around counting how many links each participant provides — unless uncalled for demands are made upon me.

  • Liz J

    Totally disagree, the seat really doesn’t matter, we lost nothing. The reason being the Prime Minister, who Ignatieff refers to disrespectfully as “that Guy”, stood on his principles.

    We support and trade with Israel, not a popular stand with many members
    of the UN. Ignatieff also now says he supports Israel as well so what else was he going to give up to win favour if he were in the drivers seat since he’s trying to convey he could have done better?

    Canada pulls more than her weight in aid around the globe, any Canadian or Canadian politician who would play this “seat thing” up for political gain should hang their heads in shame.

  • Anonymous

    I wither like a salted slug in the full glare of your faultless logic. I must withdraw. Adieu.

  • Anonymous

    Making whine from the sour grapes?

  • Liz J

    Sure, Kenny luv, go ahead, you have all the necessary ingredients for a steady supply of whine and the grapes of a bitter vetch. Enjoy!

  • Liz J

    Sure, Kenny luv, go ahead, you have all the necessary ingredients for a steady supply of whine and the grapes of a bitter vetch. Enjoy!