According to the WiseNews Chinese language publications database, a total of 40 news articles in mainland Chinese print media today include the keyword “Liu Xiaobo” (刘晓波). Of these, 39 are re-runs of the most recent official Xinhua News Agency release on the Nobel Peace Prize. In that release, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs blasted a resolution from the U.S. House of Representatives congratulating Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo on his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, saying it “toyed with the truth and confused black and white.”

What was article number 40 dealing with Liu Xiaobo today?

It was an editorial in Beijing Daily, the official Party mouthpiece of the Beijing city leadership, criticizing the Nobel Peace Prize as a “tool of Western values and ideology,” and snidely suggesting that this year’s prize be given instead to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

A translation of the Beijing Daily editorial follows:

Why not give the peace prize to Julian Assange?
(北京日报)
December 10, 2010

If we want to talk about someone who is now a figure in the global spotlight, then who, if not Julian Assange? The founder of the Wikileaks website has been the subject of a worldwide manhunt by Western nations led by the United States, and all because he wanted to release a number of secrets that could not be spoken. Based on what we know, Assange, who was arrested in London on December 7, will have to face a two-year jail term . . .

Assange’s misfortunes tell us that the freedom of speech that America advocates is not an absolute freedom, that it is a matter of kind and degree, and that it has its limits. Ordinarily, if you say vicious things about the American government, talk about its problems, or even openly critical the American government, this is nothing very remarkable. But this time Assange has dared expose the truth, airing out before the world a number of things and remarks that the American government wouldn’t dare make public, make transparent or share with others — and this has stepped over the line of America’s freedom of expression. And the worldwide manhunt [for Assange] is no surprise.

And this brings us back to the Nobel Peace Prize. According to the decision by the Nobel Committee and the remarks of a number of other Westerners [concerning Liu Xiaobo], considering the acts of free speech in which this Assange has personally participated, opposing all on his own the “government violence” of several Western nations, could he not be regarded as a “fighter for freedom of expression”? Why don’t the noble members of the Nobel Committee claim that the Peace Prize is given “in the defense of freedom of expression,” and then give it to this Assange who has been persecuted, chained and jailed by the West?

Everyone knows, of course, that this is impossible. . . . and the question of who can and who cannot obtain the prize is now entirely a matter of the likes and dislikes of the United States, NATO and the nations of western Europe, and depends on whether or not the recipient of the prize can become a tool for Western forces in attacking countries with different ideologies. Even if this tool is serving out a prison sentence for violating the law, so long as the tool can serve its purpose, they see nothing wrong with awarding them the Peace Prize.

Look through the name list of those who have received the Nobel Peace Prize, from Sakharov, who advocated division in the former Soviet Union, to Gorbachev, who single-handedly disintegrated his own nation, then to the Dalai Lama, who pursued “Tibetan independence” through violent terrorist activities, and to Liu Xiaobo, who is now serving a sentence for violating Chinese laws — all are tools of the West in promoting its values and ideology.

Assange wears the placard of “freedom of expression,” and this placard itself is something the West habitually uses to flaunt itself and intimidate others. But his actions [Assange’s] have actually jabbed at the American government and made Americans very unhappy. There is little hope, therefore, that he will be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. If Mr. Nobel knew just how his Nobel Prize was being so spoiled, I wonder what he would think!

Frontpage photo by Esther Dyson available at Flickr.com under Creative Commons license.