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On Air: Liu Xiaobo: the right choice for the Nobel prize?

Ben Allen | 09:44 UK time, Friday, 10 December 2010


This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 10 December 2010. Listen to the programme here.

Since Liu Xiaobo was announced as the winner of the Nobel peace prize in October China has barely been able to contain its anger. Officials in the country have labelled the award an “obscenity” and have openly warned against diplomats going to Oslo.

According to Beijing any countries attending the ceremony are “clowns”, warning they’ll face “serious consequences” if they turn up. These threats haven't gone unnoticed, a third of countries invited are staying away.

Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Afghanistan are just a few countries that have declined invitations. Publicly many of them haven’t given a reason for staying away but clearly they’re worried about repercussions.

Many in the west have labelled China’s approach nothing more than bullying. Are they right? Is this the best way to pressure China? How important is it to stand up to China? Will the peace prize change anything?

The Sacramento Bee says Beijing’s response has revealed a new side to the country:

A brittle, defensive one-party regime unable to handle criticism and willing to bully others into submission.

On the other hand the media in China has accused the West of trying to put China on trial. The papers have berated the Norwegian Nobel committee, suggesting the country is inherently opposed to China's development.

The BBC's mailbox is already filling up with plenty of comment on this, this is from Chuck in the UK:

It's very typical of China to use its economical status to force other countries to abstain from the Nobel ceremony. The chinese government is a big bully if things don't get their way, they throw the dummy out of the pram!

Another view from the UK, SS in London:

Once again, it really frustrates me at the lack of understanding from the western world, You cannot impose western views through arrogance and pushing.

There's also many views from China:

I do realize that human rights are good and china is not perfect on these issues. But I also hate people to point their finger in my face and tell me what to do or what not to do as if they are doing a greatest job.
The western countries use their rules to judge others,this is not fair. We have our own sense of worth.

So is China just protecting its own interests? Should the prize have been awarded to a jailed dissident? Or is this the only way to make China listen?

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