I am sort of loving the hoo-ha that China is kicking up about the jailed dissident, Liu Xiaobo, and the Nobel Peace Prize.
It reminds me of the fights that would break out when my children were small. At one point in child development, "my feelings are more hurt than yours, so I must be right" seems to take hold. I think it emerges, briefly, around the age of four. Girls seem more susceptible than boys, but it's pretty gender-agnostic. With decent parents and teachers, the four-year-old will move away from the need to be the biggest drama queen and the biggest manipulator on the block.
I think China missed a crucial stage, whether at the age of four or at another point in history. When a powerful person or entity is stuck at this stage, the first victim is any notion of right or wrong.
So, here's how it seems to play out...
Assume these thigs to be true:
- You're a corrupt repressive totalinarian regime.
- Someone who who opposes you does so peacefully yet openly, in view of the world's news media.
- You publicly jail and otherwise oppress the protester.
- There is a well known international prize for people who are punished for peaceful protest against oppression.
- That prize (the Nobel Peace Prize) is awarded to the protester.
China - go to the naughty chair. You have one news cycle to apologize and take it back.