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Wednesday 8 December 2010

Sarah McDermott | 17:18 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

More than 250 people have either been blocked from travelling, arrested, or put under house arrest by the Chinese government ahead of Friday's Nobel Peace prize ceremony, according to Amnesty International.

The recipient of this year's award, Liu Xiaobo, a 54-year-old writer, is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for inciting subversion.

Tonight Paul Mason considers what we can read from this whole affair about China's relationship with the rest of the world and the world's relationship with China, and in the studio we'll debate with one of the best-known student leaders of the Tiananmen protests, Wu'er Kaixi.

We'll have the latest on how Lib Dem MPs intend to vote ahead of tomorrow's all important tuition fees vote.

And, ahead of a no confidence vote in the Italian parliament next week, we have a profile of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi - among Italy's richest men, and one of its most controversial and colourful.

Do join Emily at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

***For tomorrow's big tuition fees vote our Political editor and our Economics editor will be live tweeting from Westminster and from the protest route throughout the day. Follow Michael Crick here and Paul Mason here***


  • Comment number 1.

    scrolling the names of LD MPs who signed this attack on the concept that Higher Education should NOT be limited to those who can afford it, not a bad idea?

    i'm sure all those MPs whose names are on it, have also said in the past they "believe in Transparent Govt" - they ARE LibDems after all. Even if it is a little hard to tell at the moment.

  • Comment number 2.

    Currently higher education has a budget of 7.2billion; NHS is 110 billion; Defence, including EYEwrack and Bushblairistan seemingly endless.

    It is simply wrongheaded to charge tuition fees; free education, and grants to support the less well off, like it was when most of Parliament were students, is clearly the only civilised way to approach higher education.

    And don't be misled by the munchkin capitalists who say that "it's only fair" that graduates should pay something back; they will do, in economic activity, income tax and national insurance; higher education benefits the whole of society - remember that concept?- and long may it do so, despite the attempts to reclaim higher education for the privileged progeny of the well-to-do.

    No fees necessary, no trebling of fees necessary.

    What do we want? Higher grants! When do we want them? Now!

    No-one needs a degree to be a nurse, a plumber or a nail-painter, yet all these poor young souls have been duped into the institutionalised necessity of qualifications in return for debt.

    There is no crisis for the LibDems.
    There are three options available for them and each will choose.
    Why the big schemozzle?
    So they signed a pledge? But they didn't win the Election. New Labour won a general election on a manifesto saying no tuition fees and then introduced them when in government.

    The Young Jewish Dentist Party is now in a total mess of its own making and will not make government for another decade and not with the Young Dentist in charge. Coalition's the real deal for the forseeable future, so get used to it.

    Vive la Coalition!

  • Comment number 3.

    Maybe China should award Julian Assange a Nobel prize equivalent for exposing the rank hypocrisy and corruption that is the West's Liberal democracy?

    But then I guess China is above such petty, juvenile actions.

  • Comment number 4.

    Whatever happens tomorrow with the student fees ‘vote’ aka stitch up, really doesn’t matter in the whole scheme of things! A fair number of acquaintances are waking up to the - for some, long realised - fact that you can’t trust a politician!

    The strangest thing of all is that, with just one day to go before the assassination of tertiary education, the Fibbing Dims are really so dim they just can’t see that the issue now is only about ‘integrity’!

    All the wobbling, wavering, distraction, debate, deviousness, rhetoric, subterfuge and shenanigans means nothing at all.

    As ....

    A man is only as good as his word!

    Most will have recognised that ‘Big Dim not so nice’ is just looking after ‘Big Dim not at all nice’ .

    But - by far - the Lib Dim that has proven to be the most disappointing of all is ....

    Drum roll ..................

    Mr Really-not-quite-so-able!

    After the vote tomorrow ....

    The history books will be written ....

    and not by ....

    Loyal Party ‘names’!

  • Comment number 5.

    I believe that WWF are running an " adopt a polar bear " fund raising ad campaign ( three quid a month or big donation at one go ) claiming that the arctic ice will be totally melted by 2040.!

  • Comment number 6.

    It just crossed my mind that perhaps the tuition fee vote was deliberately timed to give Chris Huhne and that other junior minister idiot the convenient excuse not to be part of a total failure for the warmists at Cancun. They can then just continue their climate scam as usual pretending that they would have signed a new ambitious agreement to appease the eco-fascists. Perhaps the coalition are also thinking with a political long head, as their direct names will not be signed on any document pinning them firmly to the now much discredited AGW bandwagon.

  • Comment number 7.

    brossen: i'm glad the UK is preparing for peak-oil, and sustainable growth, aren't you?

    and that because Central Govt is showing itself virtually useless, many local communities from rural to urban are coming together to do it themselves, the 'Transition Towns'.

    but it is a pity that they receive such little public/media attention. Everything seems so focussed on the AGW debate.

  • Comment number 8.

    Mindys #7

    I think that I have gone over this before in the past but we have plenty of coal capable of being turned into safe liquid transport fuel, the Germans did it in WW2 as did apartheid South Africa. We could go back to using steam locomotives on the railways where there is no economic case for electrification. And it doesn't end there, we have huge reserves of peat which can be distilled into oil suitable for use in a compression ignition engine. Such a plant was built on one of the Scottish islands and apart from a bent manager would have made a profit supplying clean lamp oil circa 1880. As you must well know I am not anti the introduction of cheap practical electric cars ( without all the expensive rare earth metals ). Better still if you can use cheap power from local waste incineration and recover the heat from the fraction of oil now thrown away as plastic, but I suspect that the eco-fascists wont have that on their agenda. Most intelligent people have now realised that almost everything the eco-fascists promote is in the interest of big corporate multinational business, particularly the energy cartel.

  • Comment number 9.


    Interesting Radio 4 on epigenesis today. Not long back we were told the Black Bear and Polar are cross fertile.

    More bad science? Do Polar Bears write their name in the snow? Or do they turn black and use the woods appropriately.

  • Comment number 10.


    Might we get to see - nah!

  • Comment number 11.

    brossen: estimates of coal reserves have been vastly downgraded in recent years, with the use of modern scanning equipment and techniques. They're going to run out, as well. Even accepting your assumption that there is NO side-effect from spewing that much carbon, which i do not.

    and THEN we will finally get down to creating sustainable energy sources, and vastly upgrading efficiency?

    why not now?

  • Comment number 12.

    .....It’s doubtful that China, desperate to maintain the export-led growth needed for social stability, will agree to let its currency jump in value to placate officials in Washington.

    This issue alone exemplifies the folly of thinking the G-2 will join hands to fix the world economy. A 2009 comment by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to then-Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says it all. Clinton, according to cables released by WikiLeaks, asked Rudd: “How do you deal toughly with your banker?”

    That’s the whole point. That $884 billion worth of U.S. debt in China’s vault means the U.S. can only ask China for policy steps, not demand them......

    in a zero sum game you can only get rich by making others poor. China has no intention of allowing us be rich. As long as it can get away with currency manipulation why should it stop? The uk needs to do something about it or get used to increasing poverty and increasing debt.

  • Comment number 13.


    I notice J Gordon Brown, having registered nothing as the monetary storm gathered, but then having 'saved the world' from monetary death, only to see it slide into a prolonged near-death experience, NOW has the answer ONLY FOR THE EU!

    Not going for grawth then James?

    Our record for delusional PMs is second to none, and growing - we just keep GETTING OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE. Surely it is apparent that the 'Westminster Model' of representational government ISN'T WORKING?


  • Comment number 14.


    has 'every citizen a soldier' policy.

    'The sensible option is to stay on side' asks Emily.

    yes if you are a craven creep habituated to Kowtow to the Chinese Empire.

    the currency war is a hot war. their surplus is funded by our debt. No uk manufaturer cannot [no one could] compete with their 40% advantage.

    The uk political class have no idea what their role is and have forgotten, in the rush to enrich themselves, the skills of guardianship.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    . At 5:54pm on 08 Dec 2010, Mindys_Housemate wrote:
    Mindys_Housemate (1) "i'm sure all those MPs whose names are on it, have also said in the past they "believe in Transparent Govt" - they ARE LibDems after all. Even if it is a little hard to tell at the moment." I suggest we're all being taken for fools or as members of an audience. I'm now sure that the Newsnight Production Team must have to operate the same way after having read last night's blog intro
    Too many of us forget that most of these MPs did humanities subjects for their degrees and they must have spent much of their time debating and arguing. In the process, they would have learned which terms appeared to work, i.e which terms were impressive, but without ever having to use them properly so to speak. Such people appear to me to be more like actors and actresses every day, and I for one am getting fed up with them all.
    In the C19th the acting profession was regarded as populated by people of very low moral calibre, mainly because they lied for a living if you think about it..Now they are praised and highly paid for this. It's remarkable!

  • Comment number 17.

    jauntycyclist (14) "The uk political class have no idea what their role is and have forgotten, in the rush to enrich themselves, the skills of guardianship."
    Do you ever ask yourself whether these sweeping, highly critical, generalisations that you come out with are soundly grounded? I've been reading a lot of what you and barriesington write here, and it seems to me that you both make up a lot of mud, and just seem to hope that it will stick. As there's no comeback from those you slag off, it seems to me to be little more than a form of remote bullying with impunity. How do either of you know that what you think is true? Does it even matter to you if it isn't? if you aren't slagging off China for too much control, you're slagging off politicians here for not exerting enough! Do either of you know what you want? If so, let's hear it please.



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