Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo Rejects Irish Asylum Offer

Beijing – Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has rejected an Irish offer of political asylum, saying, “It would simply be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

Mr Liu is currently serving an eleven-year prison term for “inciting subversion of state power” after helping to write Charter 08, a document by Chinese human rights activists asking for multiparty democracy and respect for human rights within China. In recognition of his courageous non-violent advocacy of human rights, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year.

Liu Xiaobo said the Irish asylum offer was "the best laugh I've had in years."

Liu Xiaobo said the Irish asylum offer was "the best laugh I've had in years."

Upon hearing of the Irish offer of political asylum, Mr. Liu apparently stared into space with a stunned look before bursting into helpless laughter.

“Oh, that is a good one,” he said, drying his eyes. “Thanks but no thanks. I prefer to deal with problems that can actually be solved. Establishing human rights in China is like building the Great Wall; a difficult task but not beyond the strength of the Chinese spirit.”

“Establishing basic rights in Ireland would be like building the Great Wall to the Moon.”

A friend of Mr. Liu, Professor Perry Link of Princeton, said in an interview that Mr Liu “really enjoys just being blunt… I don’t find it offensive and I think people who know him and like him don’t. But he doesn’t care about tact, he cares about truth.”

Mr. Liu displayed these qualities in full when asked to talk about Ireland.

“It’s like a caricature of everything I believe in,” he said, sitting in his spartan cell with only a lice-ridden mattress for company. “I believe in multiparty democracy, but of course that also means that those parties should actually stand for something different so the electorate can compare alternative visions of how to govern the nation.”

“Ireland has three centre-right parties, and one of them is Labour.”

"No, seriously, what's the difference?" asked Mr. Liu in bewilderment.

"No, seriously, what's the difference?" asked Mr. Liu in bewilderment.

Sipping carefully from his daily ration of one cup of water, Mr Liu continued in a tone of increasing confusion. “I mean, what the hell is the difference between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil? It’s like the choice between saying ‘Good morning,’ to the prison guards or spitting in their faces – either way you’re going to get punched in the balls.”

“And while it’s true that the Irish have the freedom of assembly, what’s the use of it if you don’t actually assemble? I mean, their government just bankrupted the nation through a combination of corruption and incompetence. Did they manage even one demonstration, one national strike, one day of protest?”

“Not exactly the spirit of Tiananmen.”

While Mr. Liu carefully attempting to patch up a holes in his clothes with a scrap of cloth torn from the mattress, he continued with ever increasing astonishment to list the rights he had always fought for and the Irish had but never exercised.

“They have the right to choose their own leaders, but they are currently led by Biffo, a man that nobody chose or would ever have chosen. And now there is this strange news that the government is going to the Supreme Court to prevent the people of Donegal South-West having their own democratic representative in parliament, and that the people still will not march to defend their democratic rights.”

Mr. Liu said he couldn't imagine what it would take for the Irish to do this.

Mr. Liu said he couldn't imagine what it would take for the Irish to do this.

“It’s a good thing the Shinners are pretty active up in Donegal,” added Mr. Liu reflectively. “I don’t agree with their methods, but they at least know how to put up a fight.”

Shaking his head, Mr. Liu concluded, “It’s like some Orwellian nightmare over there. I’d much rather be here.”

In a touching moment of common humanity, the prison guards came by to joke with Mr. Liu about his latest ‘honour.’

“Hey, Mr. Potato Head!” shouted one of the guards boisterously. “We got you something for the trip!” The guards threw Mr. Liu a spud, to much merriment all round.

“Better learn how to move like this!” declared another guard, before doing an inch-perfect Riverdance routine. Mr. Liu gave it a brief go, but collapsed laughing after his frail, malnourished body proved incapable of coping with all that tapping.

“We got you some shamrocks to keep away the leprechauns!” shouted a third, shoving a few mangy weeds through the bars while Mr. Liu mimed looking under the mattress for the little people, to great general hilarity.

“Oh, and why don’t you write Charter ’10 for the Irish? Maybe then they will all stand up for their democratic rights!”

And again there was much laughter all round.

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