Aktivis Tiongkok Nominasi Peraih Nobel Perdamaian

Para pejuang hak asasi manusia (Ham) di Tiongkok, Rusia dan negara lainnya berkesempatan memenangkan Nobel Pedamaian 2008 pada peringatan ke-60 tahun deklarasi Ham Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa (PBB).
Namun diantara 197 nominasi, yang saat ini paling di jagokan adalah dua warga Tiongkok, aktivis pejuang ham, Gao Zhisheng dan Hu Jia. Mereka adalah kandidat teratas pilihan Institute Penelitian Perdamaian Dunia Oslo, yang akan diumumkan pada 10 Oktober.  Selain itu Perdana Menteri Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai yang menghendakan larangan bom tandan yang membahayakan manusia.


Dua pembangkang Tiongkok yang mungkin bakal menerima Nobel Perdamaian ini menjadi perhatian para pemimpin Beijing. Mereka akan bergerak menyangkal adanya kemungkinan perhatian negatif komunitas internasional pada catatan Ham mereka. Keputusan komite Nobel Norwegia di Oslo untuk memberikan pengharhaan kepada Hu atau Gao dapat memicu ketegangan antara barat dan pemerintah negara yang berpopulasi terbesar tersebut.
”Saya harap komite akan membuat keputusan tepat dan tidak menentang tujuan aslinya memberikan penghargaan Nobel Perdamaian ini atau menyakiti rakyat Tiongkok,” ujar juru bicara menteri luar negeri Tiongkok Liu Jianchao pada 25 September lalu. ”Penghargaan ini harus diberikan kepada yang benar-benar memberikan kontribusi pada perdamaian dunia,” ujarnya.
Stein Toennesson, direktur Institut Penelitian Pedamaian Internasional mengatakan penghargaan ini akan diberikan kepada seseorang yang aktif membela Ham,” ujarnya. Apalagi pada 10 Desember bertepatan dengan seremonial 60 tahun deklarasi Ham. Tahun ini, ada 33 kelompok dan 164 individu yang telah dinominasikan.
Dalam Web sitenya, Toennesson menyatakan, komite Nobel harus memutuskan penerima penghargaan kepada orang Tiongkok yang selama beberapa tahun ini berjuang melawan pemerintah dan mendorong peningkatan ham sebelum tahun penyelenggaraan Olimpiade Beijing ini.
Penelis telah memperhitungkan secara matang, karena Games Olimpiade tidak membawa peningkatan terhadap sebagian besar harapan. ”Negara Tiongkok dikenal sebagai negara penguasa yang tidak menghargai Ham,” ujar Toennesson menambahkan dalam wawancara.
Kedua kandidat saat ini sedang berada dalam penjara pemerintah. Gao pengacara yang lahir 1964 memprotes perlakuan terhadap anggota pergerakan Falun Gong pada 22 September  2007. ”Dia diciduk dari rumahnya, saat dia beristirahat, dan sejak itu tidak terdengar lagi,” ujarnya.
Sedangkan Hu, 35, seorang aktivis lingkungan dan masalah AIDS, terakhir mengkritik pemerintah atas perlakukan terhadap Gao. Menurut laporan kantor berita Xinhua, Hu ditahan 27 Desember 2007 dan dijatuhi hukuman penjara 3,5 tahun dengan tuduhan subversi.  ”Mereka ditahan sebelum Olimpiade, jadi mereka tidak dapat mengekspresikan opininya dihadapan publik,” tukasnya.
Sementara itu Corinna-Barbara Francis, peneliti Asia Timur untuk Amnesty Internasional di London mengatakan, Hu saat ini paling menonjol sebagai pembangkang Tiongkok. ”Dia mendapatkan perhatian komunitas internasional dan secara berlanjut menyerukan Ham,” tambahnya.
Njaal Hoestmaelingen, peneliti Oslo, di Pusat Hak Asasi Manusia  Norwegian mengatakan memilih penentang Tiongkok tidak akan produktif terhadap akibat yang ditimbulkannya. ”Reaksi Tiongkok mungkin akan lebih menyulitkan, dan akan menyulitkan Norwegia dan negara barat untuk berkolaborasi mempromosikan Ham di sana,” terang Hoestmaelingen. Selama ini catatan Ham di Tiongkok menjadi fokus internasional.
Tahun lalu penghargaan Nober Perdamaian di berikan kepada mantan wakil presiden AS Al Gore, 60, dan Panel Intergovernmental PBB terhadap perubahan iklim. Sebelumnya penghargaan ini juga diberikan kepada Martin Luther King Jr dan ibu Theresa. (Bloomberg/Rtr/erm)

Nobel Peace Prize May Go to Chinese Activist, Angering Beijing

By Marianne Stigset

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) — Two Chinese dissidents are among this year’s Nobel Peace Prize contenders, prompting moves by leaders in Beijing to pre-emptively counter possible negative attention on their human rights record.

Gao Zhisheng and Hu Jia are deemed top candidates by Oslo’s International Peace Research Institute, which handicaps competition for the award that will be announced Oct. 10. It’s preceded by Nobel prizes for medicine today, physics tomorrow, chemistry on Oct. 8 and literature on Oct. 9.

A decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo to honor Hu or Gao may increase tensions between the West and the government of the world’s most populous nation.

“I hope the committee will make the right decision and not challenge the original purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize or hurt Chinese people’s feelings,” said Liu Jianchao, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, on Sept. 25. The prize should go to those who “truly contributed” to world peace, he said.

Stein Toennesson, the International Peace Research Institute’s director, said the prize “will be awarded to someone active in defending human rights” because the Dec. 10 bestowing ceremony coincides with the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Nobel committee may have decided against honoring Chinese dissidents in recent years to avoid offending the government and encourage improvements before this year’s Beijing Olympics, Toennesson said on his institute’s Web Site.

Authoritarian State

The panel “may see the time as ripe” he said, because “the Olympic Games did not bring the improvement many had hoped for.” China “remains an authoritarian state that doesn’t respect human rights,” Toennesson added in an interview.

Gao, born in 1964, is a lawyer who has protested the treatment of members of the Falun Gong movement, Toennesson said. On Sept. 22, 2007, “he was taken away from his home,” where he had been under house arrest, “and has not been heard of since,” he said.

Hu, 35, has been outspoken on environmental and AIDS matters and more recently has criticized the treatment of Gao, Toennesson said. After addressing the European Parliament via audio in November, Hu was detained Dec. 27 and sentenced to prison for 3 1/2 years in April for subversion, Xinhua News Agency reported at the time.

Stifled Opinions

They “were arrested well before the Olympic Games,” Toennesson said, “so they could not express their opinion in public.”

Corinna-Barbara Francis, a researcher on East Asia for Amnesty International in London, said Hu now “may well be the most prominent” Chinese dissident. “He’s come to the attention of the international community and has continuously been pushing the envelope in terms of human rights.”

Njaal Hoestmaelingen, a researcher at the Oslo-based Norwegian Center for Human Rights, said picking a Chinese dissident may be counterproductive to the cause.

“The Chinese reaction may be to make such work far more difficult, and make it more difficult for Norway and other Western countries to collaborate with China on promoting human rights there,” Hoestmaelingen said.

Protests, Riots

China’s human rights record became the focus of international protests in the months leading up to the August Olympics after it cracked down on separatist riots in Tibet in March. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

According to Toennesson, other possible candidates for this year’s 10 million-krona ($1.5 million) prize include:

— Thich Quang Do, 79, Vietnamese democracy activist and Buddhist monk.

— Lidia Yusupova, 47, Russian lawyer and campaigner for Chechen war victims.

— Martti Ahtisaari, 71, who helped broker peace in Indonesia’s Aceh province in 2005.

— Bulambo Lembelembe Josue, 47, a Congolese pastor who last week won the Norwegian Rafto award, given for promoting intellectual, political and economic freedom. The Nobel has been given four times to Rafto winners, who include Yusupova and Do.

— The Cluster Munition Coalition, an alliance of 300 organizations campaigning to ban such weapons.

— Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s deposed chief justice.

— The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization or World Food Programme, which both combat hunger at a time of rising prices.

— Human Rights Watch, an advocacy organization based in a New York City.

Last year’s prize was shared by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, 60, and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Previous laureates include Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa. Living laureates, governments, university chancellors, among others, are allowed to propose candidates.

This year, 33 groups and 164 individuals have been nominated, one of the largest groups in the prize’s history, said Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, which doesn’t confirm or deny nominations.

Picking a winner is “always difficult and we do feel a big responsibility, especially given the growing attention” on the prize, Lundestad said.

The prize, first awarded in 1901, is one of five bequeathed in the will of Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel. Sweden picks the winners of physics, medicine, chemistry and literature awards. The Norwegian Nobel Committee selects the peace prize recipient. The economics prize was instituted later by the Swedish central bank.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marianne Stigset in Oslo at mstigset@bloomberg.net.
Last Updated: October 5, 2008 18:00 EDT

Dissidents tipped for Nobel in anniversary year

By John Acher Mon Oct 6, 4:49 AM ET

OSLO (Reuters) – Dissidents fighting for rights in China, Russia and other countries are among those tipped by experts and bookmakers to win the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize in the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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The recipient of this year’s peace prize will be announced on October 10 in the Norwegian capital from among a near record 197 nominees for what many consider to be one of the world’s top accolades.

Academics, pundits and bookmakers speculate annually on who will win the prize worth $1.4 million. Their guesses are often widely off the mark since the secretive five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee does not disclose the names of the nominees.

“I think the most likely winner this year will be a Chinese dissident,” said Stein Toennesson, director of Oslo’s International Peace Research Institute.

“And I think the two most likely candidates are Gao Zhisheng or Hu Jia who are both in prison,” said Toennesson.

Gao is a self-trained lawyer who has defended Chinese citizens, including members of the persecuted Falun Gong spiritual movement, against injustices.

Hu, a young democracy, environment and HIV/AIDS activist, has climbed into the top spot with some online bookmakers. He is tipped favorite at 7-to-4 odds by Irish Paddypower and at 5.50-to-1 on Malta-licensed Betsafe, which put Goa at 10-to-1.

But Toennesson said there was no overwhelming candidate. “There is no towering figure,” he told Reuters.

Others tipped as possible laureates include Zimbabwe’s prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai at 9 to 1 and the Cluster Munitions Coalition, which wants to ban cluster bombs, at 8-to-1 on Betsafe.

“2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so I think there will be a human rights prize this year,” Toennesson said. The last peace prize for human rights work was in 2003 to Iran’s Shirin Ebadi.

CHINA ACTIVIST POSSIBLE

With the Beijing Olympics out of the way, a prize could go to a Chinese activist without worry of interfering with the Games, Toennesson added. The only peace prize linked to China was the 1989 award to Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

The Nobel Committee has sometimes been mindful of historical anniversaries, such as in honoring work for nuclear disarmament or non-proliferation in decennial anniversaries of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

The 1985 prize went to the U.S.-based International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the 1995 award was to British-naturalized nuclear scientist Joseph Rotblat and his Pugwash conferences. In 2005, the International Atomic Energy Agency and its director Mohamed ElBaradei shared the prize.

The prize has been given many times over the decades for human rights work, from the 1960 prize to South African anti-apartheid activist Albert Lutuli to Amnesty International in 1977 and to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi in 1991.

But one must look back to 1968 to find a prize linked to an anniversary of the adoption in 1948 by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It went that year to France’s Rene Cassin, president of the European Court of Human Rights, an architect of the declaration.

Last year, the prize was shared by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations’ panel on climate change, highlighting environmentalism as a path toward peace.

Janne Haaland Matlary, professor of international politics at Oslo University, agreed that a prize to a dissident for human rights work would be a logical choice this year.

Bookmakers also say Vietnamese dissident monk Thich Quang Do and Russian human rights lawyer Lydia Yusupova are other tips.

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