daily archive: 09/22/2006
China threatens Norway over Nobel Peace Prize
China Threatens Norway Over Nobel Peace Prize
The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize must not be awarded human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer, or else. The China's government has stressed this in no uncertain terms to visiting members of Norway's Parliament this week, Norwegian media report. Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Yesui allegedly made this threat his most important message to the delegates.
The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is due to be announced on October 13. Kadeer, who lives in exile in the US after being released from prison in 2004, is assumed to be a candidate for her advocacy of the rights of China's 8 million ethnic Uighurs. Beijing accuses the former businesswoman of terrorism.
The unabashed Chinese threat is roundly denounced both by officials and press in Norway. State Secretary at the Royal Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Raymond Johansen, slammed it as "totally unacceptable" and "inappropriate." "Whoever wins the Prize, the Norwegian Government is prepared to suffer whatever consequences may follow, as the [Norwegian Nobel] Committee does as it pleases," Johansen told newspaper Aftenposten on Friday. Meanwhile media draws parallells to the frustrated efforts of Nazi Germany to prevent the pacifist dissident Carl von Ossietzky from being awarded the prize in 1935. Adolf Hitler subsequently banned all Germans from receiving it "for all time."
In accordance with the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are appointed by, but independent of, Norway's Parliament -- an arrangement often disbelieved by authoritarian regimes. "It was hard for them to understand that we have no influence with the Committee," says Conservative party leader Erna Solberg, referring to the Beijing government.
The latter protested strenously when the Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and later cautioned against awarding it to dissidents Wei Jingshen and Wang Dan, who were wrongly rumored to have been nominated for the world's most prestigious award.
Analysts familiar with the highly secretive committee's modus operandum believe such diplomatic protestations to be not only ineffective, but possibly outright counterproductive. If anything, the Norwegian Nobel Committee may well decide to take an extra look at Rebiya Kadeer's candidacy in light of the current ruckus.
no comments yet