China blacks out Nobel peace prize ceremony

Last Updated: Friday, December 10, 2010 - 19:36

Beijing: Shortly after the Nobel Peace Prize
was given to the jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in absentia
at Oslo, the government here today slammed the decision to
honour him as a "Cold War mentality" and insulated the country
by blacking out international news channels besides putting
his supporters behind bars.

Demonstrating its cyber might, China shut down all
conceivable international news channels and websites,
including those from Norway, leaving no stone unturned to keep
the 1.3 billion Chinese people off the ceremony conferring the
coveted prize to Liu.

The Nobel committee`s decision to award Liu -- who is
serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges for urging
sweeping changes to China`s one-party Communist political
system -- has been dubbed by China as a concerted attempt by
external and internal forces to overthrow the one-party
"socialist" system here.

Immediately after the ceremony in Oslo, the Chinese
Foreign Ministry lashed out at the "political theatre" of the
Nobel committee, saying the move to award Liu was a product of
a "Cold War mentality".

"Facts fully show that the decision of the Nobel
committee cannot represent the overall majority of the people
of the world," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in
a statement. "One-sidedness and lies have no footing to stand
on, a Cold War mentality is unpopular."

"This kind of political theatre will never shake the
determination and the confidence of the people of China to
uphold the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics."

Reports here say that scores of Chinese human rights
activists, lawyers and scholars, who were galvanised by Nobel
to Liu, were prevented from leaving the country to attend the
ceremony. Some fled to different provinces to escape
detention.

Security was further beefed up in front of the apartment
of Liu`s wife Liu Xia, who has mostly lived under house since
the prize was announced in October.

Besides stepping up internal security and cracking down
on all remnants of dissent, China, before the ceremony,
launched a massive diplomatic offensive, prevailing on a host
of nations not to attend the event, putting a whole lot of
countries including India in a quandary.

Around 19 countries, including Pakistan, reportedly
declined Nobel Committee`s invitation at the instance of
China, while India went ahead and attended it arguing that
there were no bilateral issues involved in it.

It was not yet clear how China would view it and the
Indian diplomats who worked hard to make Premier Wen Jiabao`s
upcoming India visit a success kept their fingers crossed.

Officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and its related
departments, who took part today in an India-China cultural
festival organised in connection with the 60th anniversary of
establishment of diplomatic ties, spoke highly of bilateral
relations.

But, there is a sense of disquiet as China is yet to
officially announce the visit of its Premier to New Delhi,
scheduled to take place from December 15-17 followed by a
visit to Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have officially announced the dates
for Wen`s visit but Beijing is silent on it.

Indian Ambassador to China, S Jaishankar, today left for
Delhi after ensuring a whole lot of preparations for the
visit.

The Indian embassy has already issued visas for over 300
Chinese businessmen. Another 100 were due to join Wen in New
Delhi making it the largest Chinese delegation.

The official media, meanwhile, highlighted the
"international support" for China`s stand on the Nobel issue.

"Most nations" oppose peace prize to Liu was the headline
of the lead story of state-run newspapers `China Daily` and
`Global Times` today, highlighting yesterday`s comments by
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu, who claimed support of
over 100 countries and organisations to China`s stand.

Global Times ran an editorial saying "Oslo puts on a
farce against China," while analysts from official think tanks
criticised the prize to Liu.

"We have never seen such a situation in previous Nobel
Peace Prize awards. The only explanation is that, compared
with previous ones, this year`s Nobel Peace Prize is going to
the wrong person," Yan Xuetong, Director of the School of
International Studies at Tsinghua University, told the
newspaper.

Tao Wenzhao, a researcher with the Institute of American
Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the
Global Times that the time is long gone when only one set of
values and ideologies could manipulate the world.

"The Nobel Prize Committee has in recent years
increasingly deployed the Peace Prize as a political tool to
embroil nations into endless disputes and division," he
claimed.

Jin Canrong, Deputy Dean of the School of International
Studies at Renmin University of China, said that the award
ceremony is a meaningless event in the course of China`s
development.

"People such as Liu will not change their rigid views
that are not accepted by mainstream society and will be
increasingly marginalised in society," he said.

Giving the prize to figures like Liu Xiaobo has "clearly
demonstrated the Nobel Committee`s anti-Chinese attitude,"
said Gao Mingxuan, a noted Chinese criminal law expert.

"The committee is obviously harbouring political
motives," Gao said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 10, 2010 - 19:36

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