Peace and the American consumer

It’s no surprise that China Daily didn’t carry any mention about the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to a Chinese dissident. Instead, the newspaper’s Web site is leading with a story from the U.S. that even most people in the U.S. don’t care about…

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Behind the scenes, however, China is playing rough with Liu Xiaobo, who was named the Nobel winner today.

“Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law.” Giving him the prize “runs completely counter to the principle of the prize and is also a blasphemy to the peace prize,” a statement said. At the same time, the New Yorker reports, China is obsessed with winning Nobels.

Meanwhile, plainclothes China police officers today forced Liu’s wife — they couldn’t do anything with him, he’s already in prison — out of her home and probably to a prison to keep foreign reporters from talking to her, Reuters reports. Security officers sealed off her neighborhood.

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The subject is so important that the Washington Post has already written — and published — its Saturday editorial:


But the prize has enormous significance nonetheless. It should, first, inspire Western democracies to stand up to Chinese bullying, notwithstanding the growing economic power of the world’s most populous nation. Chinese officials warned Norway and the prize committee not to give the award to Mr. Liu, but the committee didn’t allow itself to be intimidated.

“Stand up to Chinese bullying.” That’s likely accomplished easiest with the American consumer than with the American government. But who’s likely to step forward and say ” I’m not buying goods from China”?

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