McCaa Uncut: Nobel Prize

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by JOHN MCCAA

Bio | Email | Follow: @johnmccaa

WFAA

Posted on December 10, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 10 at 11:15 PM

Congratulations to the Nobel Prize committee for its Peace Prize award this year to a Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo.

That one decision has told us more about the other world superpower's thoughts on free speech than anything any politician could possibly have done. It's this week's uncut commentary.

If you haven't heard, Bo has waged a long non-violent struggle to end one party rule in China. He was in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 protest. He has pushed for greater freedom and more human rights in China.  That alone cost him his freedom. He's in jail accused of inciting subversion.

That's the reason neither Liu Xiabo nor his wife attended this award ceremony Friday.

China says he's simply a convicted criminal and the Nobel committee was trying to impose western values by making this choice. It called for an international boycott of the award ceremony.

Other countries back China's decision to boycott the ceremonies, among them Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran and the Sudan.

The Russians want Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who disclosed secret documents, to get the award. That's mainly a dig at us, not because they believe in free speech. They are less likely to push for the nomination of Boris Nemtov. He used to be in their government then, wrote a pretty nasty examination of Vladimir Putin's time as president. Unlike Assange, he disclosed no government secrets, put no one at risk and just talked about the heavy handed nature of Putin's idea of democracy.

That didn't sit too well with authorities there. Reportedly, the book has been banned from Russian stores and now Nemtov is in jail.

Free speech is something new to both Russia and China. The recent steps in the direction of a democracy in both countries have been concerned mostly with economic freedom and not so much with freedom of expression.

While political debate here tends to get overheated at times, we believe the right to say what you believe is necessary to promote the political and economic process.

Let's hope that's an idea the Russians and Chinese encourage in the future.

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