The Corner

More on ‘Rejoice’

Was just on the BBC, speaking about today’s Nobel announcement. Lots of apologists for the Chinese dictatorship on there too, I’m afraid. Amazing, the number of enemies of freedom: who are happy to take advantage of the organs of freedom — of freedom itself — to argue against freedom. Anyway, one of the Chinese guests — not against freedom — made the point that, over Chinese search engines, you cannot find anything on Liu Xiaobo, the new laureate, today. The laureate himself, of course, is in a dungeon.

A reader now writes to reinforce this point: “You can’t use Baidu or any other Chinese search engine to look for Liu. You get a message that the server has reset. I’d love to hear what Yahoo! has to say today.”

Yeah, I know. By the way, here are the people who have been unable to travel to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize: Ossietzky, the German, in 1936; Sakharov, the Russian, in 1975; Walesa, the Pole, in 1983; and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese, in 1991. Will Liu Xiaobo be the fifth? Looks like it.

The Nobel chairman in 1975 was a gutsy, gutsy woman named Aase Lionaes. She did something very nervy in her presentation speech — the speech the chairman makes at the ceremony. Sakharov was not there, of course; but his wife, Elena Bonner, was. She had been out of the Soviet Union anyway, for medical treatment. Lionaes actually had the nerve to say,

The Nobel Committee deeply deplores the fact that Andrei Sakharov has been prevented from being present here today in person to receive the peace prize. This is a fate he shares with the man who, forty years ago in 1935, was awarded the peace prize. His name was Carl von Ossietzky.

Never mind the technical detail that Ossietzky got the award, for 1935, in 1936: Lionaes had delivered a bull’s-eye. She had linked the Soviets’ behavior to the Nazis’. Will Chairman Jagland, this year, link Beijing’s behavior to that of the Soviet Union and the Third Reich? I doubt it. But, boy: Wouldn’t that be thrilling?

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