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    « Medvedev's Visit To Kuril Islands, Japan's Bruised Feelings & Fierce Diplomacy In Asia-Pacific | Main | 2010 Press Freedom Report: Northern Europe Still The Best Place For Journalism »

    Beijing's Latest Threat: 'Consequences' For Countries Which Attend Nobel Ceremony

    Pretty much on a weekly basis, if not daily, there comes a new threat of some sort from China to someone somewhere in the world about something that is not being done per their likes and dislikes. If only the world would just comply with Beijing's wishes - but alas, it doesn't. 

    Pres Obama With Pres Hu Jintao @G20 In 2009, Image Source: Wiki

    Threats to Japan (territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea), threats to US (mostly over undervalued yuan and trade), threats to the Norwegian Nobel committee as well as to Oslo over Liu Xiaobo, threats to virtually all other Western but especially European nations over supporting Liu Xiaobo's nomination, threats to the UN and other developing nations over supporting a war crimes inquiry in Burma, threats to the UN (again) over releasing the UN report on Sudan that incriminates China for supplying arms to Khartoum (in exchange for oil) that are used in the massacre in Darfur - and these are just the threats issued in the last 1-2 months. 

    The latest threat from Beijing came today when the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai announced that governments would have to "take responsibility for the consequences", if they supported Liu Xiaobo by atteding the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo on December 10th. It is generally customary for the Oslo-based ambassadors of different nations to get invited to the ceremony held at the Oslo City Hall in December each year. Many governments have now received letters from the Chinese officials advising them to (more or less) boycott the function this year.

    AFP reports: "Diplomats from several countries said China's embassy in Oslo had sent letters to Western missions more or less implicitly cautioning them not to attend the prize ceremony on December 10 in the Norwegian capital. "We have received a letter which explains the Chinese position and which asks us not to do anything which could destabilise China," Olof Huldtgren, the deputy head of mission at the Swedish embassy in Oslo, told AFP. "It does not explicitly say don't participate in the Nobel ceremony, but reading between the lines, the message is clear." Another Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that while the letter does not specifically say not to attend the ceremony "it warns against doing anything against Chinese interests.""

    Liu Xiaobo, Image Source:Wiki

    It would be one thing if the Chinese threats worked as intended. It is still never okay to be a bully, but at least one could make the case that they continue to operate the way they do because they get away with it and get the intended results. But more often than not, their threats not only do not produce the intended results but Beijing doesn't always even deliver on the so called 'consequences' that it promises. 

    Earlier this year Beijing had threatened the US with "unwelcome consequences", if it sold arms to Taiwan. The result of this threat: the US sold $6.4 billion worth arms to Taiwan anyway, as Beijing just fumed. Beijing has threatened the US almost every single time there was a possibility of the US President meeting with the Dalai Lama. But all recent US Presidents -Clinton, Bush and Obama - met with him anyway. The US Congress even honored the Dalai Lama with the highest civilian honor (The Congressional Medal) in 2007. The fact that China called that ceremony a "farce" made no dent in the ceremony.

    When French President Sarkozy met with the Dalai Lama in 2008, Beijing threatened France with 'economic sanctions'. Not only did the threat of economic sanctions not keep Sarkozy from meeting the Dalai Lama, but the 'economic sanctions' never even materialized. In fact just this week when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Paris, the two countries inked a slew of business deals worth more than $20 billion. Is this Beijing's idea of 'economic sanctions'?

    Many times the Chinese threats are entirely counterproductive. Case in point: Xiaobo's Nobel win. Although he is clearly a deserving winner by any stretch of imagination, this selection was at least in small part due to China's excessive bullying and pressure on the Nobel Committee and the European countries to not select him. No one likes being told what to do, and sooner or later people get tired of this bullying. Then they feel defiant and have the urge to stand up for themselves. 

    The AFP article (linked above) further adds: "The US ambassador will as usual attend the ceremony, a press spokeswoman said, refusing however to say whether the embassy had received a warning from China or not. A spokesman for the Foreign Office in London acknowledged the Chinese "have raised the issue with us," but stressed: "It is the normal practice of the British ambassador to Norway to attend the Nobel peace prize ceremony. The ambassador intends to attend this year." Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia and Lithuania said Friday they would not be intimidated by the Chinese warning and their ambassadors would attend the event. 

    Despite a request from China that Norwegian leaders shun the ceremony, the foreign ministry in Oslo said Friday there were no plans to alter the traditional participation, which includes the king and queen and members of government. Norwegian Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad said the Chinese letter was "not a surprise." Ambassadors based in the Norwegian capital have until November 15 to reply to the invitation. So far, only the Chinese ambassador has declined, according to Lundestad."

    China cannot continue to engage with the international community in this haughty manner indefinitely without suffering serious consequences. It is inadvertently creating unity amongst it's enemies - because no matter what their disagreements are with each other, they all resent the Chinese bullying. 

    ~ Gauri

    Reader Comments (1)

    Things are building up ( hopefully ) finally, and it is truly heartening to learn that so many countries are not going to continue to be intimidated by China, the Liu Xaobo case illustrates the huge power of pressure exerted on other nations because of one man. Very soon, ( hopefully ) a far greater example of collective fear of China throughout the world shall finally see the light of day ( ), for eleven years China has leaned on governments to comply, keeping silent about a massive genocide of it's own people , still going on, the torturing to death, organ harvesting on a massive scale , raping and beating to death, incarceration of innocent Chinese citizens for their religious belief. These are people who would harm noone, indeed would be welcome in any other country, for cultivating virtues of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance.
    When it is finally made known, or even admitted by the " civilised world ", it's governments and media, that they have been complicit in keeping silent about truly massive crimes against humanity in China for so long, when the victims of the genocide practice virtues that most nations desperately need in their populations, and that the world would benefit massively from, there will be shock and disbelief. Please prepare for this unbelievable shock, go to

    Thank you for reading this.

    Anthony Archer
    December 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranthony archer

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