Patriots Amalgamated

About forty dissidents in China have been put under house arrest since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, according to international human rights organizations quoted by Germany’s weekly Die Zeit. In addition to Liu Xiaobo’s wife Liu Xia, other dissidents, civil rights attorneys, activists, authors and relatives of victims of the 1989 crackdown are kept in their homes. China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), also quoted by Die Zeit, estimates that the number of intellectuals and activists under house arrest is at 100. According to CHRD, the focus is on signatories to the Charter 08, defenders of civil rights, and independent scientists. CHRD’s list includes the names of Liu Di (an internet activist), Yu Jie (the author of a critical book on chief state councillor Wen Jiabao, published in Hong Kong), and Ding Zilin, leader of the Mothers of Tian An Men organization.

Several websites disliked by Chinese nationalists and Chinese authorities were attacked by hackers, including the Nobel Peace Prize website, with some of the websites not accessible or readable afterwards, writes Die Zeit.

China’s benefits from globalization are immense, Christoph Bertram, in another Die Zeit article, wrote a few days earlier. Still, China didn’t understand the process of globalization. It’s recent approaches to international politics, Beijing abandoned its policy of showing a cooperative attitude – in the past, even the slogan “Peaceful Rise”had appeared to be too provocative in the view of some of China’s leaders. The new attitude both boosted a general uneasiness about China, and limited appreciation even for legitimate Chinese concerns. But above all, writes Bertram, political globalization couldn’t be separated from economic globalization. External impacts on what used to be “internal affairs” were unstoppable.

The Middle Kingdom can’t stop this process either. At the most, it can, in agreement with others, shape the process. Beijing can’t demonstrate this insight better than by allowing Liu Xiaobo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize by himself in Oslo on December 10,

writes Bertram.

Sinologist, translator, and poet Wolfgang Kubin, himself not shy of strong words of criticism – “The Chinese publishing industry is [in the sense that profit is everything] degenerated” – is apparently unhappy about how the western press covers China (as quoted by Die Zeit a week ago:

“What I see is that all [Chinese] students here, except those who buy in here as “dissidents”, all stand on the side of the [Chinese] state. That’s what the western press has achieved: the amalgamation of all patriots worldwide.”
(“Was ich feststelle, ist, dass alle meine Studenten, mit Ausnahme derer, die sich hier als ‘Dissidenten’ einkaufen, auf der Seite des Staates stehen. Und das hat die westliche Presse erreicht: den Zusammenschluss aller Patrioten auf der Welt.”)

His criticism of Chinese literature didn’t hurt Kubin’s image in China. His criticism of the press outside China (it’s hardly only the western press that hurt nationalist feelings) probably won’t, either.


Wolfgang Kubin: “Nothing New to the Table, Paper Republic, November 7, 2009
Something to Learn from Australia, April 25, 2008
“Die Diskussion ist völlig überhitzt”, Deutschlandradio /, April 24, 2008

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