Statement about the Nobel Peace Prize by Jens Galschiot and Lasse Galschiot Markus

The Nobel Prize and China’s lack

of understanding of the world 2010

On December 10th, for the first time ever, an empty chair will represent the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. But the world’s most populous country has chosen to keep Xiaobo in prison and to make sure that his family does not receive it in his place China has placed his wife under house arrest.

This is a disgraceful way for China to treat its critics. We must demand that China behaves like a decent nation and allows Liu Xiaobo to receive the world’s most prestigious prize.

The economic power and influence of China has become obvious to the world. And the impressive growth rates have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. This is an important and necessary development for the world’s social balance.

But for China to be accepted and respected as a superpower, it requires that the country respects the human rights and provide even basic rights to its own citizens, in form of freedom of speech and an independent judiciary. Food alone is not enough.

Because of China’s growing economic strength and its emerging status as a superpower, the Western critique of the country has somewhat disappeared. But since the Nobel Committee awarded Liu Xiaobos the Peace Prize 2010 this has changed. The criticism of the regime’s infamous violations of free speech and human rights has once again increased – which is somewhat China’s own fault.

China’s attempts to disrupt the award ceremony

-         Even before the award nomination, China threatened the government of Norway with economic and diplomatic sanctions. China does not seem to understand that the Nobel committee is independent of the state and that the Norwegian government cannot control the Nobel nominations.

-         Later on China has tried to use diplomatic and economic means of pressure to prevent a number of countries from taking part in the award ceremony. This again shows Chinas lack of understanding of how a democracy works. And the pressure has had no effect. Few countries (that are all criticized for violating the human rights) have canceled.

-         In another attempt to censor the event, China has placed Liu Xiaobos wife under house arrest. Furthermore a number of human rights advocates have been prevented from leaving the country for fear that they might receive the prize in the absence of Liu Xiaobo.

 China should show courage

In a world of Facebook, Twitter, Google, text messaging, cell phones and wikileaks, even China cannot keep its people in ignorance in the long run. Therefore China might as well provide its citizens with these basic rights.

We urge China to open its eyes to the world anno 2010 in which freedom of speech and information is a matter of course – in China as well. It would be appropriate that China took this first step towards decency by letting Xiaobo and his wife receive the Nobel Prize. This would be suitable for a superpower to come.

Lasse Galschiot Markus and Jens Galschiot, Denmark, December 8th 2010.


Galschiot and China
Jens Galschiot is a Danish sculptor. He is known for his major international sculptural manifestations. In 1997 he placed the 8 meter tall sculpture ‘The Pillar of Shame’ in Hong Kong to honor the students from the massacre at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. Galschiot and his son Lasse have often been to Hong Kong to support the democratic development in China. For example, during the Olympics, where Galschiot’s happening caused ‘The Pillar of Shame’ to be painted orange. The last two times Jens Galschiot has visited Hong Kong, he has been refused entry into the country, but his son may still represent him. To support the free debate in China Galschiot has scanned all documents about the Tiananmen massacre. It can be found, and used freely, at


Contact/info/photos on Jens Galschiot:

phone +45 6618 4058, and
Lasse Galschiot Markus +45 6170 3083