I asked several Tsinghua students what they thought about Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese dissident, winning the Nobel Peace Prize. There was a wide range of answers:
1. “It’s a sensitive subject,” said one student. And said no more.
2. “The Nobel Prize always seems to involve China,” said another student. Maybe she meant the Peace Prize in 1989 to the Dalai Lama and the more recent Literature prize to Gao Xingjian, but I’m not sure. Politely changing the subject.
3. “I don’t know much about what he stands for,” said another student (a freshman).
4. “Now is not the right time for his ideas. They would interfere with economic progress,” said a student who is a member of the Communist Party.
5. “Many people say because the European economy is bad, they gave the prize to someone who will never collect the money [because he’s imprisoned],” said another student. She added that receiving the prize will be bad for Liu. Because it was “a great shame for China” (meaning the government), they will increase his prison sentence.