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ICC Note:

China is a nation struggling with itself, as we see with the recent Nobel Peace Prize without a recipient, but as China is growing upward, are there signs that China is going to be able to make amends with its own people?

 12/17/2010 China (Asia News Net), an empty chair at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony was a poignant reminder that despite its many achievements, China remains a house divided, a nation at war with itself.

For more than 20 years, Liu Xiaobo, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has peacefully advocated respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy in China.

For this, he has been condemned as a criminal and imprisoned.

In addition, China lobbied a number of countries to boycott the Oslo ceremony.

It must have been cold comfort, however, that the list mostly included countries like Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Kazakhstan and others from the human rights hall of shame.

It is true that the human rights agenda, as it is pursued today, is sometimes hypocrisy dressed up as virtue.

Democratic nations are too readily outraged by the faults of their adversaries but indifferent to the transgressions of their friends, and that is a disgrace. But that should not blind us to what is happening in China today.

China has undoubtedly been on an amazing growth trajectory. Within the span of a few decades, millions have been lifted out of poverty.

The Chinese people have never been more prosperous, never more endowed with opportunity as they are today.

Certainly China has gone far beyond what any of us who lived in that country during the late 1970s, barely a few years after the Cultural Revolution had ended, could have ever imagined.

History might well consider China’s progress over these last few decades as the most remarkable transformation ever achieved by a nation.

China’s leaders must be given credit for much of this.

But there is a dark side, too – China is also a nation that is increasingly at odds with the aspirations of so many of its own people.

In Tibet, for example, an ancient people are wilting under the heavy hand of Beijing, their culture and religion being inexorably erased by massive inward migration. From time to time, riots have broken out, the latest being in 2008.

In the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Muslim Uighurs are struggling to survive.

In 2009, riots broke out in Urumqi, the regional capital.

Today, more than 50,000 cameras are trained on mosques and Uighur neighbourhoods as part of an effort to keep a watchful eye on its restive population.

Religious groups also suffer at the hands of their government. Christians and Falun Gong followers have been persecuted, tortured and killed for years.

Too many now languish in jail simply because of their religious convictions.

Across China, many brave individuals who champion better environmental protection, food safety, building standards, accountability, and justice and human rights issues find themselves condemned as enemies of the State.

Thousands of demonstrations and civil society campaigns covering a host of different issues are routinely and often violently suppressed.

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