China warns against Peace Prize to one of its dissidents

Chinese authorities have been quick to issue warnings that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident will hurt relations between China and Norway

The Chinese authorities don't want human rights activist Hu Jia to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Chinese authorities also have opposed any awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Rebiya Kadeer, exiled leader of the Uighur ethnic group in China.

China wasted no time two years ago in formally warning a visiting delegation of Norwegian politicians that the Norwegian Nobel Committee should not award the Peace Prize to human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Kadeer had won the Rafto Prize, also awarded in Norway, in 2004 and that wasn't well-received in Beijing.

Kadeer has also long been a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Chinese government told the delegation from the Norwegian Parliament that relations would be damaged if the prize went to Kadeer. The Norwegian delegation responded that although the parliament appoints the members of the Nobel Committee from parties represented in parliament, the committee itself is independent. The Norwegian government has no control over who is considered for prize or named as the annual winner.

That hasn't stopped the Chinese authorities from once again issuing a warning, after speculation over this year's winner tipped human rights activist Hu Jia as a possible winner. Hu Jia has been harassed and imprisoned for years by the Chinese authorities, for his ongoing efforts to further democracy, human rights, environmental protection and AIDS/HIV programs in China.

A spokesman for the Chinese foreign office told Reuters this week that if the prize goes to Hu Jia, Beijing won't like it. The spokesman said the Chinese authorities hoped the Norwegian Nobel Committee will make a "correct" choice and not one that would "hurt the feelings" of the Chinese people.

Government authorities in Vietnam also have warned earlier about an award of the Peace Prize to another perennial candidate, the Buddhist monk Thich Quang Do of Vietnam. He also won the Rafto Prize, in 2006, and the same delegation from the Norwegian parliament -- which visited Vietnam after visiting China -- was warned against awarding the Peace Prize to the Vietnamese champion of religion freedom.