A proposal to change the name of the plaza in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. to “Liu Xiaobo Plaza,” after the famous Chinese Nobel Prize Winner and jailed political dissident, continues to gain steam in the United States Congress.
The bill, unanimously approved by the Senate last week, would change the Embassy’s address from “3505 International Place” to the more controversial “1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza.”
Party mouthpiece The Global Times has called the move “no big deal” while also detailing why it is such a big deal:
The apparently provocative move intends to outrage and unsettle China. But this is no big deal. In addition to anger, it will enable us to learn more about the US from another perspective: the US has big problems in abiding by the rules and keeping self-respect and its Congress acts so rashly.
The US has been at its wits’ end in dealing with China as it is reluctant to employ military threats or economic sanctions that may backfire. The only option for Washington seems to be petty actions that disturb China. But these can help China better understand what vile characters it will meet during its rise and face whatever awkwardness comes by dealing with them.
This latest move by Congress cannot change the fact that Liu jeopardized China’s national security and was sentenced to jail. The rise of China is being confronted by external forces like the US. Whether Liu feels proud of such turbulent embraces from the West or not, he has become a tool of the West against China.
The not terribly political subtle bill was proposed by Republican presidential candidate and Texas senator Ted Cruz, as a show of solidarity with Chinese dissidents. It still must make it through the House of Representatives and be signed by the president before it becomes law and the Chinese Embassy thinks about a move.
Liu Xiaobo, is perhaps the most famous jailed Chinese dissident. He is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence due to his involvement in the manifesto Charter 08, which called for 19 changes to made to China’s government, including the elimination of one-party rule. In 2010, on his fourth year in detainment, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to non-violent protest and human rights.
We continue to wait anxiously for Chinese officials to rename the road outside the US Embassy in Beijing to “Edward Snowden Avenue.”