China’s anti-Nobel plans fail to go peacefully
Confucius Peace Prize winner refuses his award, while Chinese restaurants take the brunt in Oslo
Chinese efforts to play down the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia to dissident Liu Xiaobo are not going smoothly, despite Beijing having persuaded the embassies of 19 nations to boycott today's event in Oslo.
First, a Chinese committee with ties to the Ministry of Culture decided to come up with its own peace prize, to be handed out at an event in downtown Beijing yesterday, 24 hours before King Harald V of Norway oversees the Oslo ceremony.
The committee duly announced that the first ever Confucius Peace Prize had been awarded to Lien Chan (above), honorary chairman of the Taiwan-based Chinese National People's Party, for his contribution towards peaceful relations between mainland China and Taiwan.
Sadly for the gung-ho organisers of the Confucius Peace Prize, a spokesman for Lien said he had never heard of the prize and had no intention of showing up at the Beijing hotel for yesterday's prize-giving.
Other nominees for the Confucius Prize apparently included Mahmoud Abbas, Nelson Mandela and Bill Gates - though it is not clear whether any of them were made aware of the dubious honour.
Over in Oslo, Beijing pressure has basically split the world into two camps - those like Britain, Europe and the States, who quite like the idea of human rights (except when it comes to Julian Assange), and those who couldn't give a damn and were quite happy to side with the Chinese, vis Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan etc etc.
Meanwhile, the Nobel prize-giving was set to go ahead at lunchtime today with an empty chair marking the absence of the jailed Liu Xiaobo.
The state-run English-language Global Times described today's ceremony as a "farce" and Liu as "a Chinese criminal". The Norwegians, it said, "have to ignore the signs of China's drastic changes and social progress, in a bid to convince themselves that China's 'darkness' is real".
The Global Times did not mention the rumour, published elsewhere, that Chinese diplomats have resorted to blackmailing the staff of Oslo's Chinese restaurants to join today's protest, so weak is the genuine support for the rally. ·
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