Ellen Bork's roundup of Nobel Peace Prize reactions yesterday deserves a postscript. Hugo Chávez of Venezuela sucked up to his ideological comrades in Beijing (not to mention very large customers of Venezuelan oil) in memorable fashion:
Chavez said the [Venezuelan] opposition's support for the prize showed that "they are lackeys" of the West. "They are worse than the Yankees."
"Our greetings and solidarity go to the government of the People's Republic of China," Chavez said, adding: "Viva China! And its sovereignty, its independence and its greatness."
Meanwhile, as noted by UN Watch, U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon also went out of his way to flatter the Chinese government. His October 8 statement read in part:
Over the past years, China has achieved remarkable economic advances, lifted millions out of poverty, broadened political participation and steadily joined the international mainstream in its adherence to recognized human rights instruments and practices.
One way in which China could "join the international mainstream" went unmentioned by the U.N. chief: Beijing could free its Nobel laureate from prison. “The UN’s two leading voices on human rights issues [Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay] need to be clear and immediately call on China to release Mr. Liu,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.