China is outraged at one of its citizens being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and has threatened Norway with diplomatic consequences for allowing the award.
The prize, worth 10 million krona ($1.5 million), was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, a 54-year-old former university professor internationally feted for his efforts to promote democracy in China, though little known in China itself due to state censorship.
Liu was jailed for 11 years in 2008 for “inciting subversion” after daring to suggest China should institute democratic reforms.
China was indignant at the award, calling Liu a “criminal” and saying the decision to award it to him “runs counter to the intent of the prize, and desecrates the peace prize.”
Showing its usual diplomatic finesse, China then threatened Norway with for allowing the prize to be awarded, saying that it “will likely cause damage to our relations with Norway.” Just what it intends to do was left unspecified.
China also summoned the Norwegian ambassador for a dressing down, in spite of the fact the prize is not awarded by the government but by an independent body (albeit one with members appointed by the Norwegian parliament).
Reporting of the award was heavily censored in China – Nobel prize reports from such broadcasters as the BBC, CNN and NHK were blacked out when they began to mention China’s unwanted triumph: