- Sputnik International
Find top stories and features from Asia and the Pacific region. Keep updated on major political stories and analyses from Asia and the Pacific. All you want to know about China, Japan, North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Norway Still Haunted by Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Winner’s Death

© REUTERS / Bobby YipPro-democracy activists mourn the death of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, outside China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, China July 13, 2017.
Pro-democracy activists mourn the death of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, outside China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, China July 13, 2017. - Sputnik International
The Nobel Peace Prize award to Chinese career dissident Liu Xiaobo sparked a major controversy in 2010, resulting in years of strained relations between Oslo and Beijing. Xiaobo's memory seems to haunt the Norwegian leaders even after his demise.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at right shakes hands with Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende in Beijing, capital of China, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 - Sputnik International
Friends Again: Norway Swallows Its Criticism to Rekindle Trade With China
Following the death of Liu Xiaobo, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg landed in hot water, as former Amnesty International Norway leader Petter Eide claimed that she reacted with relief when informed of the controversial Nobel Peace Prize winner at the age of 61. This claim was vehemently rejected by Solberg.

The news of Liu Xiaobo's death reached Solberg while on vacation, whereupon she announced her "deep grief." Eide called Solberg's reaction "ill-mannered and quite provocative," criticizing the Norwegian government for being far too passive in its handling of the Liu Xiaobo controversy.

"I think it is ill-mannered and quite provocative of the prime minister to use words such as 'deep grief' when she heard about Liu Xiaobo's death," Petter Eide told Norwegian national broadcaster NRK. "In all likelihood, she reacted in the opposite manner — with relief," he added.

Solberg herself responded to the accusations with a statement released through State Secretary Ingvild Stub. She called Eide's claims "sad and unfair," suggesting a possible link to the coming elections, as Eide is running for the Social Left Party opposing Solberg's Conservatives.

Salmon - Sputnik International
Salmon Says: Norway Sweeps Criticism of China Under Rug to Boost Trade
Earlier, Solberg herself and Foreign Minister Børge Brende added fuel to the fire by declining to answer questions about Liu after he was moved from Chinese prison to a secured hospital ward due to terminal cancer.

Eide ventured that the government's actions during recent weeks showed anything but sympathy for Liu's situation, suggesting that the lack of warmth or recognition from Norway was actually a sign of support for the Chinese authorities. "She surely feels the opposite of grief," Eide added.

Liu Xiaobo, a staunch critic of the Chinese regime and a former figurehead of the 1989 movement of Tiananmen Square, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his "long non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." Liu was not able to attend the Nobel award ceremony in Oslo in 2010 as he was serving an 11-year prison sentence for alleged attempts to "undermine political order." Despite the fact that the Norwegian Nobel Committee is an independent non-government entity, Beijing froze diplomatic ties with Oslo, calling the award "blasphemy." Relations between the two countries were not formally normalized until last December. Earlier this year, Solberg visited Beijing, becoming the first Norwegian leader to do so in a decade.

Oil and gas company Statoil drilling and accommodation platform Sleipner A is pictured in the offshore near the Stavanger, Norway, February 11, 2016 - Sputnik International
All for Oil: Norway to 'Drown Paris Agreement' in Record Arctic Exploration
Previously, Solberg's eagerness to mend fences with the country's "largest trading partner in Asia" was linked to the detrimental effect of the Nobel row on the Norwegian economy, which suffered a major drop in exports to China.

"The government chose salmon over Liu Xiabo," Aftenposten columnist Jan Arild Snoen tweeted, alluding at Norway's efforts to reclaim China as a leading seafood market.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала