Reading Round-Up, December 17

It seems there’s been an outpouring of writing about China lately—so much that we actually haven’t been able to keep up with it all (especially since for the China Beat editors, December brings with it the madness and mayhem that mark the end of an academic term). So, before we settle in for the holiday break, we thought we’d bring you a pair of reading round-ups that point to all the pieces we wish we’d been able to write during the past few weeks. We’ll post part I (focusing on Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace prize win) today and part II early next week, then take a break until after the new year.

• At his Forbes blog, Gady Epstein looks at “Life After the Nobel,” concluding with this thought-provoking observation:

Liu Xiaobo will not be forgotten, in no small measure because China’s leaders will keep pressuring the world and their own citizens to forget him.

• Perry Link attended the award ceremony in Oslo on December 10 and discusses the event at the New York Review of Books. It was also announced earlier this month that Harvard University Press will be publishing an anthology of Liu’s writings in 2012, and that Professor Link will be supervising the translation team for the project.

• Jeff Wasserstrom shares his thoughts on Liu and the peace prize, pointing to a few historical analogies to keep in mind, at Dissent magazine’s website. At The Economist’s website, James Miles also takes a look back in time:

Chinese leaders probably failed to anticipate the battering that China’s image abroad would suffer as a result of the awarding of the Nobel peace prize to an imprisoned Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo. They would have expected that their boycott of the award ceremony in Oslo on December 10th would invite comparisons in the West between China and the Soviet Union, which responded with similar fury to the award of the prize to Andrei Sakharov in 1975. It is unlikely they fully realised that their behaviour would be equated even more prominently with that of Nazi Germany.

• Danwei has a collection of humorous Chinese microblog posts discussing “The Lius I admire.”

• Finally, one of the best pieces of news of the year for those interested in China came with the dismissal of Chai Ling’s lawsuit against the Long Bow Group, whose films have been praised on this site in the past and surely will be again in future. As Geremie Barmé, who filled China Beat readers in on the lawsuit and the fight to get it dismissed in an interview published here in 2009, noted when communicating the news of the Long Bow victory to us, there was something deeply ironic about the decision coming on the eve of Liu Xiaobo being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Why? Because, as Barmé put it:

Ms Chai, who has for years tried to censor Long Bow’s work as well as to close down our website, is attending today’s Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo with her entourage. I presume that they are basking in the reflected parhelic glow of the incarcerated Liu Xiaobo. I would note that in the past Ms Chai and members of her cohort have devoted much time and energy to denouncing Liu Xiaobo and others who dared challenge their account of what they did, and did not do, in 1989. An added irony is that in doing so they have often employed similar rhetoric to that of the Chinese authorities (in this context, see my ‘Totalitarian Nostalgia’).

In addition, Ms Chai has, since the 8 October 2010 announcement of Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize, claimed that in actual fact she and Liu Xiaobo had ‘bonded’ in the early hours of 4 June (see this article for more). In [a previous e-mail] I remarked that: ‘Farce always reaches new depths when Ms Chai is involved… Now, if the Nobel Laureate were free to speak….’

Of course, Ms. Chai seems to have found herself on the Road to Damascus before (viz, her conversion to Christianity). In the lead up to 4 June 2010, for instance, she even stated that she’d be dropping her lawsuit against the Long Bow Group, although she didn’t fail to decry us as ‘witless/unknowing tools of Satan’. I would note that these statements, while garnering a few more ephemeral headlines, did not result in any bankable Christian charity.

As for the Jenzabar-Long Bow case, I believe Ms Chai et al will ‘appeal to the highest court in the land’ in their tireless search for truth and justice.

In the meantime, I would like to thank all of those who signed our Long Bow Petition. I’m off to have a glass or two of champers both for Xiaobo and for Long Bow.

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