The latest piece in China’s domestic media to criticize the awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) comes from an unlikely source, the China Youth Daily. Published by the Chinese Communist Youth League, China Youth Daily has been associated with professionalism in China’s media since the 1980s, when it was one of the first newspapers to venture into untested waters, reporting on such issues as official corruption.

The newspaper’s Freezing Point supplement, shut down briefly in 2006 for over-bold reporting, was recognized as a leader in journalistic professionalism (and idealism) in China for more than a decade. CMP fellows include some of the paper’s greats, like investigative reporters Lu Yuegang (卢跃刚) and Liu Chang (刘畅), veteran editor Li Datong (李大同) and photojournalist He Yanguang (贺延光).

Obviously, journalistic professionalism and support for the decision to award Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize do not have to go hand-in-hand.

But yesterday’s article, which cannot properly be called either a news story or an editorial, uses the (apparently unanimous) voices of university students in Beijing to express deep and general anger and disbelief over the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. Mirroring an earlier Xinhua News Agency piece, the article characterizes the Nobel decision as a political farce, a tool of Western nations in their relentless effort to undermine China and frustrate its development.

The favorite CCP hard-linger phrase “people with ulterior motives” (别有用心的人), in the past routinely dragged out to label those black hands behind uprisings and other forces of instability, is used twice in the article.

What song is the Nobel Peace Prize singing?
University students in the capital voice their doubts on the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

China Youth Daily
October 18, 2010
By Song Guanghui (宋广辉) and Shen Mengfei (沈梦菲)

“Liu Xiaobo Won the Nobel Peace Prize?!”

After the Nobel Peace Prize was announced this year, university students in Beijing found it unexpected, and some thought that surely the news had been reported incorrectly on the internet, or that perhaps someone had intended it as a spoof.

In the past few days, these reporters learned from a number of Beijing universities, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, China Youth University for Political Sciences and the Foreign Affairs College that students generally felt disbelief at the news. [They felt that ] while the people of China had worked to their utmost to preserve ethnic harmony and national unity, the Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to the Dalai Lama, an advocate of Tibetan independence, and Rebiya Kadeer, a Xinjiang separatist who had organized violent riots had been nominated.

The Chinese people support the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the economy and society have experienced strong and swift development. People’s lives have steadily improved. And here again the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to a sentenced criminal who would agitate and overthrow state political power, this Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) who promotes a Western political path.

What is the Nobel Peace Prize playing at, and why is it always working at odds with the Chinese people?

When Liu Chang (刘畅), a fourth-year student at Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics, read the news about Liu Xiaobo winning the prize online, he discussed it with his classmates. They searched available information, including the original will of Mr. Nobel, and found out that the prize should be given to those who promote friendship and unity among peoples, who push for arms reduction, and who either do their utmost or make notable contributions to the holding of forums on peace. The classmates felt it strange. What had Liu Xiaobo done to promote world peace? Awarding him with the “Peace Prize,” was this a peaceful act, and could it really promote “peace”?

Beijing Film Academy third-year student Zhang Liang (张亮) and his classmates spent hours that night discussing and analyzing [the issue], and they all felt that this was an underhanded strategy and a “political show” orchestrated by people with ulterior motives (别有用心的人) in the West. Zhang Liang told the reporters that all of his classmates felt that the judges of the Nobel Peace Prize had shown an ever more acute “Cold War” way of thinking and “politicized” tendency in recent years, and that they had put this question of “human rights problems” in China under the spotlight before the world, drawing the world’s attention, in order to do harm to China’s reputation and to disparage China’s achievements. Zhang Liang said that while this method might seem noble, it was in fact despicable, and “the great prize left behind to Nobel has been transformed into a political tool, harming not China but the Nobel Peace Prize itself!”

Many classmates at Minzu University of China just couldn’t understand what had gone through the minds of the five Nobel Peace Prize judges selected by the Norwegian Parliament. Guo Yao (郭瑶), a third-year journalism student at the university, said that Xinjiang independence agitator Rebiya Kadeer had also been a hot favorite as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and it was Rebiya Kadeer who orchestrated the July 5 riots in Xinjiang [in 2009], which resulting in huge losses of life and property for the people of Xinjiang. How could such a person be nominated for a “peace prize”?

Many students at Tsinghua University believed that in a developing nation with a population of 1.3 billion, and in the midst of rapid development and transition, it was unavoidable for many problems to emerge. China’s problems can only be solved through the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, through constant reform and self-improvement. Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a fierce advocate of Western-style political systems was clearly a political ploy.

Ning Xingzhi (宁星之), a materials engineering student at the university said that [Chinese] society was developing and history was progressing, and that ignoring complex historical and social backgrounds and wanting to go strictly according to Western political systems was pointless and anachronistic.

Xie Lisha (谢丽莎), a journalism student at Renmin University of China, took it upon herself to conduct a random poll on campus, and her results found that not one student interviewed believed that resolving China’s problems required the Western path advocated by Liu Xiaobo. She said that in her poll, classmates all believed in the superiority of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The efforts of the Party and the government in promoting democracy and protecting human rights received a high degree of support among students.

Zheng Zehao (郑泽豪), a student at China Youth University of Politics and Law said: “There are people with ulterior motives in the West who throw Liu Xiaobo out like a brick with the goal of striking China’s government and causing chaos in China. Clearly, they underestimate the level of intellectual maturity of young Chinese today, and ultimately they’ve dropped the brick on their own foot. If these Western forces really are sincere about helping China develop, they should refrain from such small and despicable acts, and stop peddling their poisonous medicines.”