From The Telegraph:
By Max Wind-Cowie 12:36PM GMT 08 Dec 2010
For the first time since 1936, the Nobel peace Prize winner will be represented by an empty chair on Friday. Why? Because China has succeeded where no other state – bar the Nazi regime in Germany all those years ago – has. They have prevented either this year’s winner, Liu Xiaobo, or any member of his family from traveling to Oslo to accept the prize.
The Nobel Committee has, rightly, come in for some flak over the last few years. Awarding the prize to Al Gore – for jetting around the world arguing that people shouldn’t, er, jet around the world – and to President Obama were demeaning to the prize and to its purpose. But this year they got it right. China’s economic reforms are, in the long-term, meaningless without political liberalisation to empower its population.
Many, many Chinese are waking up to that simple fact; and Liu Xiaobo represents them, their hopes and their continued oppression at the hands of their own Government. In awarding him the prize, the Nobel Committee highlighted his sacrifice and the struggle of the Chinese people for freedom. But this award goes beyond that – it has also, unintentionally, served to highlight the hypocrisy of world bodies that mouth platitudes about human rights while ignoring Beijing’s brutality.