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Opinion

President Obama: Call your own Nobel summit, and send China a message

Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiabao will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this Friday in absentia. As a Nobel laureate himself, President Obama must take a clear stand on China's human rights abuses. On Friday, he should host a 'freedom summit' with other Nobel laureates.

By Joseph A. Bosco / December 8, 2010



Washington

While blamed for her party’s defeat in November’s elections, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is showing President Obama the way to regain his footing in the international arena.

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Defying Beijing by announcing she will attend this week’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiabao, she can help the president fulfill the promise the Nobel Committee saw in awarding him the prize last year. (At least eighteen countries will kowtow to China in planning to join its boycott of the Nobel ceremony.)

No, the president need not go to Oslo himself. While that would rank in symbolism with the Berlin speeches of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, it would be too much in Beijing’s face under present circumstances, and not in the Obama style.

Liu Xiaobo awarded Nobel Peace Prize. Take the Nobel Peace prize quiz

Better suited to his more studied approach, but equally dramatic, he could bring the mountain to Muhammad, so to speak. That is, on Dec. 10, the date of the award ceremony, the president should convene a White House meeting, or a live teleconference, of all living Nobel Peace laureates who, like Mr. Liu, fought oppressive regimes.

Related: How Nobel committee will mark this year's peace prize without recipient Liu Xiaobo

That would include Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, and the Dalai Lama. Aung San Su Kyi, just released from house arrest in Burma, would surely be blocked from attending, but her absence and that of China’s Liu would speak eloquently. Members of their dissident communities could represent them.

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