Tomorrow, the Nobel Peace Prize committee will give its award to jailed Chinese human rights advocate Liu Xiabo. How is China responding? In short, not well.
The Guardian reports:
Scores – perhaps hundreds – of people have been placed under house arrest or surveillance, had communications cut off and been forced to leave the capital or prevented from travelling abroad. While such tactics are common before important events such as political meetings, it is rare for pressure to last so long and be applied so extensively. Amnesty International said it believed more than 250 people are affected.
"The scale and intensity are unprecedented. It is an attempt to prevent any voice supporting this prize coming from China," Nicholas Bequelin, the Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said.
"Activists feel this is worse than before the Olympics or sensitive anniversaries," Wang Songlian, of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders network, said.
As for the official Chinese line, it's interesting to read the government's press agency, Xinhua, try to understand how they're spinning Xiabo's peace prize. Consider this article, published under the headline, "Nobel Committee harbors political motives behind prize to Liu Xiaobo: experts."
Chinese experts reiterated that conferring an award to convicted Chinese criminal Liu Xiaobo is "gross interference" in China's judicial system, one day before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
"Giving the prize to figures like Liu Xiaobo has clearly demonstrated the Nobel Committee's anti-Chinese attitude," said Gao Mingxuan, a noted Chinese Criminal law expert….
Liu, a Chinese citizen, was sentenced to 11 years in jail on Dec. 25, 2009, after a Beijing court convicted him of violating Chinese law and engaging in activities designed to overthrow the government. His appeal at the higher court was rejected in February this year.
Liu's words were obviously inciting people to subvert the legitimate state power of the people's democratic dictatorship that is under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and overthrow the socialist system, Gao said, citing Liu's remarks such as "change the regime" and "set up a federal republic of China."
China's puerile reaction underscores the importance of Xiabo receiving the award. With the award he'll get tomorrow, Xiabo will have a louder megaphone to advance the cause of human rights and democracy.