Dec 9, 2010 12:27 pm


I must admit to have a soft spot for the Norwegian Nobel Institute. I have fond memories of the three months working there in the 1996 and still consider Geir a friend. Last year they made fools of themselves by awarding the prize to Obama but this year they remembered their mission and awarded the peace prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. China vetoed his attendance, so his chair, unfortunately, will remain empty and no one know how long he will have to wait before he will be able to get the money. Arrests and control mean that only one activist who has escaped to the US will be in attendence:

Only one Chinese dissident will be present at the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony for Liu Xiaobo. The wife of writer and activist, Liu Xia, had compiled a list of 140 persons to be invited to Oslo on December 10, but the Chinese government has blocked them under house arrest or threatened them into not making gestures"against the country's security".

The only one of who will be able to participate is Wan Yanhai, who fled to the U.S. last May, after suffering growing difficulties for his work in defence of victims of AIDS. Liu Xia had drawn up and posted on the internet a list of 140 people. Police are carefully stopping the potential participants one by one. On 19 November, Professor. He Guanghui, of Renmin University, leaving for Singapore, where he attended an international meeting on religion, was apprehended at the airport on his return to the city. Why? The academic, an expert on world religions could"damage state security" by being abroad.

30 to 50 seats have been reserved for friends of Liu Xiaobo in the great hall of ceremonies in Oslo, but it is likely that they will remain almost entirely empty. Neither Liu nor any of his relatives seem to have the opportunity to go to Oslo to receive the award, which includes a gift of 1.4 million U.S. dollars.

Still, Chinese democratic activists will take heart from the knowledge that the world is not blind to their plight.

As expected China attacks Nobel Prize 'clowns', 18 nations snub Nobel Committee

The losers are the usual suspects and not just commercial partners:

Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco + believe it or not, Navi Pillay, The UN Human Rights Commissioner! Liu's friends are calling for her resignation and rightly so.

There have been some doubt about India. In the end, the largest democracy refused to be intimidated. It will join the 44 countries attending.

Also see, The UN's Nobel decision is an act of betrayal

Navi Pillay tries to atone - U.N. rights chief calls on China to release Liu

Cowardly CNN says mum.China Moves to Block Foreign News on Nobel Prize Ceremony

A spokesman at CNN, a division of Time-Warner, did not respond to requests for details about China’s apparent attempts to block its broadcasts.

The British broadcaster BBC said on its own Web site that its news site was apparently being blocked in China.

A spokesman for the Norwegian broadcaster NRK could not be immediately reached for comment.

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