Chinese dissident Liao Yiwu received the 2012 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. In his speech during Sunday's award ceremony, Liao savaged China as an "inhumane empire with bloody hands." He also described China as "the source of global disasters" and an "ever-expanding garbage dump." In the end he cried out six times that "the empire must break apart."
The speech makes some people doubt his judgment and the ability to control his own emotions. It's surprising that Germany picks such a bigoted person as the award winner. Shouldn't those attending the ceremony, including German President Joachim Gauck, blush for Liao's hysterical speech? Liao's performance will make the Chinese look down upon Germany's wisdom and breadth of thought in awarding the prize to Liao.
One thing has been proved again: Some Chinese dissidents that the West chooses to support are mediocre in ethics and wisdom. They catch eyes through political radicalism, since they are unable to deal with the normal competition within Chinese society. Some just attribute their personal experience to the failure of social ideologies, and gnash their teeth in anger toward the entire society.
They are indeed wrong. There are losers in each society, and generally individuals in China suffer from more pains than Westerners. But China's reform and opening-up is a process of building up social justice and increasing individual rights and dignity. Those who cannot feel the momentum are either closing themselves off or fail to separate their personal experience from the zeitgeist.
Germans probably think this award could exert some influence on China. But Chinese are used to Westerners using dissidents. Compared with the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010, the latest book award will barely draw any attention.
Public has expected that these dissidents can have broader horizons and take a more rational and objective attitude to China after they leave the country. However, their minds have become more and more narrow. It seems that they have made a clean break with the traditional argument that "Every man has a duty to his country."
Neither China nor Western countries will cancel their communications with the other just because of some dissidents. Dissidents must face the constancy of the relationship. Chinese dissidents who have been abroad should have the responsibility to overcome hatred.
The author is a commentator with the Chinese edition of the Global Times. firstname.lastname@example.org