Beijing – For the Chinese, Norway and the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awarded Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize, should take it back and apologise to China, a survey cited by the Global Times said. According to the English-language edition of the People’s Daily, six respondents out of ten want to see prize taken away and Norway apologise. However, even if the numbers are clear, their significance is still an open question. In fact, Chinese media have not yet reported the news of Liu’s victory. Indeed, the survey showed that three respondents in four did not know who won the prize.
Carried out in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou on 15 and 16 October by the Global Poll Center for the Global Times, the survey indicated that 43.6 per cent of respondents believe that the main reason the committee gave this year's prize to Liu was to put pressure on China. For another 31.5 per cent, it was an attempt by the committee to push Western values onto China.
How should China respond? For 57 per cent of respondents, the government should keep Liu in prison until the end of his term. About 17.3 per cent of those polled said Liu should be released at an appropriate time and be allowed to leave China. Finally, 9 per cent said Liu should be released immediately and go to Norway to accept the prize. Surprisingly, the survey also noted that more than 75 per cent of respondents had no idea who the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize was.
In an editorial, the paper blamed the Nobel committee for provoking “a serious ideological clash between China and West.”
Ni Feng, director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times "the poll indicates that the general public has no interest in the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Housing prices and income are of more importance."
The Chinese government disagrees however. Whilst giving the matter a low profile at home, Beijing has gone on the offensive over the past week against dissidents, including raids against Liu supporters as well as relatives of the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Ding Zilin, leader of the ‘Tiananmen Mothers, is among them.
“We strongly condemn the government for taking away the personal freedom of Ding Zilin,” the group member, Zhang Xianling, said. “This is a crime. We strongly protest, we call on the government to release Ding Zilin as soon as possible and allow her to contact her friends.”
For the past four days, no one from the ‘Tiananmen Mothers’ has been able to get in touch with Ms Ding and her husband, Jiang Peikun, because their phones have been cut off.
According to Hu Yong, a professor at Peking University, Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize comes at a crucial moment in Chinese politics. Despite a news blackout, China's blogosphere and micro-blogs have gone ballistic after he was announced as the winner. This is an indication that Internet, especially Twitter-style micro-blogging, is a new tool of mass communication.