|Nobel ceremony for prisoner of conscience Liu Xiaobo in 2010|
Norway is a small country with a population of around 5 million. The Chinese communists have canceled meetings with representatives of the Norwegian government and frozen diplomatic relations since 2010.
Four years later and top-level contacts between Beijing and the Norwegian government remain cut off, even though the government has no control over the decisions of the Nobel Committee. Both the Social Democratic government and its Conservative 2013 successor have tried to mend ties but what would require to appease the Chinese runs afoul of Norwegian principles and policies.
Contrast the behavior Norway with that of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
|Part of propaganda exhibit for the PRC at UN on Human Rights day|
"At a time when the Nobel Peace Prize is being awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, it is an outrage that the U.N. is hosting and co-sponsoring -- with China's Communist regime -- a massive propaganda display designed to cover up the government's systematic abuses of universal human rights."To add insult to injury on International Human Rights day when the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony was being held in Oslo and the pro-PRC regime propaganda farce was being held in Geneva the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights snubbed the event in Oslo refusing to attend while disingenuously claiming to not have been invited the day before.
The fact of the matter is that the representative of the laureate approached Ms. Pillay and that the standard procedure of the Nobel Committee, according to Hillel Neuer is that "it won't invite any of the laureate's 50 invitees until they have confirmed with the laureate's representative that they have agreed to attend. So when Pillay and her spokesman Rupert Colville say she wasn't invited, they are being disingenuous and misrepresenting the truth."
An international coalition of 38 nongovernmental organizations appealed to the U.N. rights chief to reverse her decision and attend the Nobel award ceremony for the imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. In the end the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights skipped the award ceremony.
2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising and massacre, and it is important to also remember that in 1989 many powerful nations preferred to maintain their "normalized" relations with the Peoples Republic of China at the expense of their solidarity with the victims of repression.
Liu Xiaobo has no guns, bombs, or weapons and he does not recognize the Chinese regime as an enemy but nevertheless the Chinese communist leadership fears him. They have sentenced him to 11 years in prison because of his writings in favor of democratic reforms within the system and are now expending both economic and political capital in an effort to diminish this Chinese dissident’s international stature. He was imprisoned in December 2008 and tried and condemned on Christmas day in 2009. This December marks six years in prison for nonviolently exercising his fundamental human rights in defense of the rights of the Chinese citizenry.
Fortunately, the snub by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the propaganda show at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva do not diminish the greatness of this Chinese human rights defender, but unfortunately exposes the smallness and moral cowardice of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Many remain silent about the human rights situation in China because of its economic might and claim that nothing can be done, but Vaclav Havel never held that view. In fact, he protested Western silence. Just days following Liu Xiaobo's trial verdict on January 7, 2010, Vaclav Havel walked over to the Chinese Embassy in Prague and rang the doorbell on three occasions before posting his protest letter through the outdoor embassy mail slot. The former Czech president turned to reporters present and explained what he was doing:
“We are here now because we are asking the Chinese president and Chinese government not to repeat what happened to us 33 years ago, where fighters for freedom were pursued and persecuted.”What price is one willing to pay for having normal relations with a totalitarian regime? Does it include making a sham out of human rights standards and abandoning victims of repression?
Thank you Norway and thank you Vaclav Havel for showing the world that there are those not willing to pay the price.
[This is the third of three essays on China and "normal" relations: the first gives an overview of Clinton's China policy and its devastating effect on the United States and the second offers details on how U.S. national security was compromised and are available via hyperlink.]