(TibetanReview.net, May08, 2014) – Norway appears to have promised China that its Prime Ministers will in future never congratulate a dissident Chinese prize winner, according to thelocal.no May 7. Earlier, Norway’s NRK news channel May 5 cited Cui Hongjian, a professor at the China Institute of International Studies, a think tank close to the authorities, as saying Norway must promise never to celebrate opponents of the Chinese government. He had explained that merely undertaking not to meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, was not enough to normalize relations between the two countries, reported thelocal.no May 5.
Now, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has on May 6 told NRK that there was no guarantee that Norway’s Prime Minister would congratulate all future prize winners, leading to suspicions that this guarantee had already been given behind closed doors.
Indeed, there appears to be a competition to please China and shun its critics in Norway these days. The May 7 thelocal.no report cited Norway’s richest man Stein Erik Hagen, who made his $5.3bn family fortune through his retail and food groups Rimi, Orkla, and Jernia, as saying the next Nobel Peace Prize should be given to China. He has said the country’s success in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty made it a deserving winner.
“It is more important to have a good relationship with the giant China than to give politically correct support for Tibet,” Hagen was quoted as saying. “By getting a better relationship with China, we can better help Tibet.” Thus, Hagen’s reason for recommending China for the Nobel Peace Prize too was to improve relations with China.