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Petty China's Nobel problems to continue

No doubt, China does not like being compared to the Nazis. But then, as Dai Qing rightly asked, “Will the Chinese authorities temporarily relax the controls on Xiaobo — as Hitler and Goring ultimately did in the von Ossietzky case by releasing him from a concentration camp? Or will the Chinese authorities close one eye, watching his relatives go to the ceremony-as the Burmese Junta did in Aung San's case?”

But, it seems, the Chinese government will prove itself more unyielding than the Nazis or the Burmese military regime.

In addition to putting pressure on Liu's family and friends, it is now also putting pressure on all governments, especially those in Europe, to boycott the Dec. 10 ceremonies, as the Los Angeles Times has reported.

According to the newspaper, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has sent diplomatic notes to European ambassadors posted in Oslo regarding the Nobel Peace Prize saying, “We strongly hope that your country — will refrain from attending any activity directed against China.”

Since in the view of European countries the Nobel prize was in no way directed against China, there is no reason for them to skip the ceremonies.

But China itself will certainly not attend. The Chinese embassy has received an invitation sent by the Norwegian Nobel Committee but it returned the invitation in its original envelope unopened.

This is childish behavior. The world will judge how China will act as a superpower by its behavior today.

Telling the Europeans to skip the Nobel ceremony can only increase resentment against China.

This is a time for China to grow and husband its soft power, not to be petty and fritter it away on hopeless and unwise causes.

Frank Ching can be reached at Frank.ching@gmail.com

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