China echoes Nazi Germany with its reaction to Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize winner Carl von Ossietzky

The last time the Nobel Peace Prize winner was symbolized by an empty chair, Nobel laureate Carl von Ossietzky was in a Nazi concentration camp. Image: CC Wikimedia Commons

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Oslo, Norway, on Friday. An empty chair at the Nobel awards ceremony symbolized the absence of Liu, who is locked up in a Chinese prison. China has denounced Liu’s award and became the first state since Nazi Germany to prevent representatives for a Nobel laureate from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nobel Peace Prize sits in empty chair

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize and the $1.5 million check that comes with the it was set on an empty chair after Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, presented the award. Diplomatic representatives from more than 60 countries attended the Nobel awards ceremony. Notably absent were China and Russia. Jagland gave China credit for its economic development, but said “It is no coincidence that nearly all the richest countries in the world are democratic.” Since Liu Xiaobo was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in October, China has suspended bilateral trade talks with Norway. The Beijing government recently called the members of the Nobel Committee “clowns.”

Liu Xiaobo’s Charter 08

Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo was arrested in December 2008 after co-authoring “Charter 08 ,”a manifesto calling for fundamental political change in China. Charter 08 was signed by more than 300 academics, lawyers, journalists and other influential Chinese. For his efforts, Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “subversion of state power.” China has suppressed news of Liu’s award. On Thursday, Zhang Zuhua, a co-author of Charter 08, was seen forced into a vehicle by police. Blue construction panels were erected in front of Liu’s apartment, where his wife has been under house arrest since he was announced as the winner.

Hitler could be China’s role model

Imprisoned political dissidents have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before. Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov, Polish labor leader Lech Walesa and Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi were represented by family at the Oslo awards ceremony. The last time an imprisoned Nobel laureate’s family weren’t allowed to attend was in 1935. German journalist Count Carl von Ossietzky won the Nobel Peace Prize while he was in a concentration camp for speaking out against Hitler’s rise to power. Hitler then concocted his own peace prize, just like the Chinese did Thursday with their farcical Confucius Prize.

Sources

The Telegraph

CNN

New York Times

Other recent posts by bryanh