Cue the fireworks.
Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the Chinese government leadership, the Nobel committee awarded its coveted Peace Prize to dissident Liu Xioabo.
The problem for the leadership in Zhongnanhai is that Liu is in prison for organizing and sending around a document called Charter 08, which called for sweeping political reforms including freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion.
What makes things difficult for China this time is that Chinese Premier Wen Jibao told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria just this past weekend that freedom of expression and speech is vital to China’s continued development.
So it seems the Nobel Committee took Wen at his word. And yet, in the run up to the announcement the Chinese government issued the usual huffing and puffing about how honoring Liu would “insult all Chinese” and put a severe strain on relationships between China and Norway and China and the Nobel Committee.
These were the usual comments every year a Chinese dissident was considered a serious contender. Fortunately for the integrity of the committee, they did not listen the Beijing this time.
Still waiting for the official Chinese reaction. Stay tuned.