Monday, September 29, 2008

China Warns Norway Against Peace Prize to Hu Jia or Rebiya Kadeer

Here is an extract from a report by Nina Berglund published in the Norwegain Aftenposten:
"China warns against Peace Prize to one of its dissidents: Chinese authorities have been quick to issue warnings that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident will hurt relations between China and Norway"
China wasted no time two years ago in formally warning a visiting delegation of Norwegian politicians that the Norwegian Nobel Committee should not award the Peace Prize to human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Kadeer had won the Rafto Prize, also awarded in Norway, in 2004 and that wasn't well-received in Beijing.
Kadeer has also long been a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Chinese government told the delegation from the Norwegian Parliament that relations would be damaged if the prize went to Kadeer. The Norwegian delegation responded that although the parliament appoints the members of the Nobel Committee from parties represented in parliament, the committee itself is independent. The Norwegian government has no control over who is considered for prize or named as the annual winner.
That hasn't stopped the Chinese authorities from once again issuing a warning, after speculation over this year's winner tipped human rights activist Hu Jia as a possible winner. Hu Jia has been harassed and imprisoned for years by the Chinese authorities, for his ongoing efforts to further democracy, human rights, environmental protection and AIDS/HIV programs in China.
A spokesman for the Chinese foreign office told Reuters this week that if the prize goes to Hu Jia, Beijing won't like it. The spokesman said the Chinese authorities hoped the Norwegian Nobel Committee will make a "correct" choice and not one that would "hurt the feelings" of the Chinese people.
They received the same message that the Norwegians delivered in Beijing -- that the Norwegian Nobel Committee operates independently of the Norwegian government, and makes it own choices, free of any government control.

Comment by me: The Chinese authorities evidently really don't seem to get the point that the Nobel Prize Committee operates independently of the Norwegian government.  Frankly it had not occurred to me that Ms. Kadeer or Mr. Hu would be candidates for this international honour.  Seems that the Chinese authorities have in effect nominated them!