Nobel Peace Prize 2010: How Obama award shapes this year's choice
After giving the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama last year, the Norwegian Peace Prize Committee may opt for a more conventional winner this Friday.
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Mr. Liu has been listed as the top pick for the prize, according to online betting website PaddyPower. He has also received support recently from former Czech President Václav Havel through an open letter in the International Herald Tribune backing Liu’s candidacy.Skip to next paragraph
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Separately, Chen Guangcheng and Gao Zhisheng have also been nominated with Liu by a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the US House of Representatives, including Rep. Chris Smith (R) of New Jersey, senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
But the nominations of Chinese dissidents are seen by some as controversial, despite the political independence of the Nobel committee.
Harpviken said it would be problematic for the prize to go to Liu or any Chinese dissident because of the political tensions it could cause between Norway and China. Geir Lundestad, Norwegian Nobel Institute director, recently told Norwegian national television NRK that China’s deputy foreign minister warned them this summer not to award the peace prize to a Chinese dissident.
Kjell Magne Bondevik, foreign minister at the time the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, recalls the diplomatic tension that ensued. He said he received “a very clear message” from both the Chinese government and embassy about their displeasure over the selection. He believes giving the award this year to a Chinese dissident could result in a similar diplomatic reaction, but would not affect economic relations between the two nations.
“I am doubtful whether China will react by reducing economic arrangements with Norway, because they know there will come an international reaction,” said Mr. Bondevik, who currently serves as director for The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights and was a former Norwegian prime minister. “That’s not in the interest of China.”
China is Norway’s most important trade partner in Asia. The two countries are currently negotiating a possible bilateral free trade agreement.