Jeffrey Wasserstrom writes for Yale Global about how Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize impacts China’s soft power efforts:
A poster child of successful globalization, China has recently taken some knocks from the process. This YaleGlobal series explores how China’s global connections brought prosperity but some unpleasant surprises as well. By leveraging its economic might and organizing power of the state, China has successfully used institutions like the International Olympics Committee to rebrand itself as an advanced global power. But, as historian Jeffrey Wasserstrom explains in the last article of a two-part series, China has stumbled in its attempt due to an enduring authoritarian impulse. The most recent example of failure came when a Chinese prisoner-of-conscience, Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Liu was repeatedly jailed for his call for expanding civil liberties. Similar fracas broke out earlier when Beijing denounced the participation of dissident writers in the Frankfurt Book Fair. Harsh attempts to suppress demands for democracy and human rights may ensure the party’s hold on power, but tarnish China’s image globally.