Awarding Liu Xiaobo the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize contravenes the purpose of the prize, which is meant to recognize individuals who promote international harmony and friendship, peace and disarmament.
To the contrary, this year's choice is largely political. Rather than promoting the intent of the prize, the award has caused unease and disharmony in the international community.
Liu Xiaobo has long engaged in activities aimed at overthrowing the Chinese government and political system. Zealous advocacy to improve the well-being of one's fellow citizens is one thing. Promoting the overthrow of one's government to accomplish such change is quite another. Liu's activities cross this line, and the Nobel Committee is wrong to reward him for it.
Respect of sovereignty and non-interference with another's internal affairs are fundamental principles of international relations. The Nobel Committee's decision to grant the prize to Mr. Liu is tantamount to overt support for criminal activities in China and encourages others to resist its laws. Such an open challenge to judicial sovereignty cannot be ignored.
China is not alone in its view. More than 100 countries and international organizations that advocate justice and the rule of law have expressed support for China's position.
China is changing. That is undeniable. Chinese citizens enjoy a growing level of well-being unheard of only years ago. The country's success over the last three decades in achieving unparalleled economic and social progress is due in part to its political system.
Admittedly, that system is not perfect. But it too is changing. We are ready to draw on the fine practices of other countries as we further economic and political reforms. China is resolute in its commitment to this path, but we will travel at our own pace and in our own way so as not to jeopardize the progress we have achieved thus far and hope to achieve in the future.
A peaceful, stable and growing China supports the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and those of the world at large. Politicizing the Nobel Peace Prize will not support this important endeavor.
(This is an article originally appeared in the USA Today on December 10, 2010)