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Monday, October 11, 2010

China Nobel Guys Shouldn’t Hold Breath: William Pesek

Bloomberg --The Nobel Committee is kidding itself if it thinks the award will do anything to alter China’s path. Did anything change in Myanmar after Aung San Suu Kyi’s 1991 award? What changed in the Soviet Union after Andrei Sakharov’s 1975 nod? And before that, did Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature make the Kremlin think twice about policies?

U.S. President Obama’s 2009 award hasn’t improved his standing domestically or globally. Have the dynamics of nuclear proliferation changed much since Mohamed ElBaradei’s 2005 award? North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is still adding to his arsenal 10 years after South Korean President Kim Dae Jung’s prize.

China’s Path

It’s great that the Nobel Committee honors a Chinese writer who on Dec. 25, 2009, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Merry Christmas, Mr. Liu. Just don’t count on China following any path other than the one it would have if somebody else had won.

This is the diplomatic equivalent of China surpassing Japan’s economy. Quite a milestone, yes, but it doesn’t raise the purchasing power of Chinese households, reduce corruption, narrow the gap between rich and poor, clean the nation’s rivers and air, enhance personal liberty, free the media or create the national safety net needed to prepare for an aging population.

China’s growing economic brawn doesn’t mean Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Inc. is free to operate there. Or that the search engine created by Google Inc. co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page can help the Chinese masses learn about their nation’s history and future challenges. Nor will YouTube have a free ride in the fastest-growing major economy.

Insecure Superpower...and you would be hard-pressed to find many serious observers who think the nation isn’t a rising superpower. Meanwhile its leaders squander time and energy fretting about what academics say. Read more...

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