In recent days, various high-profile Chinese citizens, such as artist Ai Weiwei and the economist Mao Yushi, have found themselves barred from leaving the country, presumably to keep them well away from Friday’s ceremony in Oslo. Of the 140 individuals invited by Liu’s wife to attend the Nobel event, only one of them—Wan Yanhai, now in the United States—will be able to attend. The rest remain in China, either under house arrest or constant surveillance.
The remarks of the Foreign Ministry elicited derisive laughter, but the vituperative language reveals something. The intemperate words show how much foreign approval—in other words, the aura of legitimacy—counts to Party bosses.
How much? According to the Nobel Committee, China has applied “unprecedented” pressure on countries not to send representatives to the ceremony in Oslo on Friday. The Chinese government now claims success for its boycott. “As far as I know, at present, more than 100 countries and organizations have expressed explicit support for China opposing the Nobel Peace Prize, which fully shows that the international community does not accept the decision of the Nobel Committee,” the Foreign Ministry’s Ms. Jiang noted on Tuesday.
That’s a curious statement because the Nobel Committee sent out only 65 invitations, one to every nation maintaining an embassy in the Norwegian capital. Of those, 18 countries have said they will join China in the boycott on Friday.
And if Beijing had not done enough to highlight its atrocious—and worsening—human rights record, it will award its first Confucius Peace Prize on Thursday. The winner is Lien Chan, a semi-successful Taiwan politician, who prevailed over nominees Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Gates. The head of the awards committee was quoted as saying that “we hope people will believe the award is of global significance.”