Nobel Peace crisis continues between China and Norway in the second anniversary of Chines dissident Lian Xiabo’s receiving Nobel Peace Prize.
A new visa reform will allow travelers from 45 countries to visit Beijing for 72 hours without applying for a visa in advance. All 27 EU member states plus Iceland and Switzerland are included in the scheme, which applies from 1 January. the U.S, Russia, Japan and most Latin American countries are included in the list but Norwegians who want to fly to Beijing for a short visit must still rely on the long queue at the visa office of the Chinese Embassy.
Wang Qin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, does not answer direct questions about why Norway was omitted but he makes controversial statements:
– Some countries are not eligible because they have people or a government that is of low quality and behaving badly, says Wang to FT.
The recent transfer of power in Beijing, where Xi Jinping took over as party leader for a period of ten years, had been seen as an opportunity to get Norway and China to become friends again.
– But this case clearly shows that nothing has changed with the new leader. This is the first tangible proof that the hard line against Norway continues, said China expert, Henning Kristoffersen, senior adviser at the Norwegian Veritas, and author of the New China.
The Chinese government considers Liu Xiaobo, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for his activism as a criminal. They were so enraged when Liu got the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. But that’s not the main point of punishing Norway politically, says Kristoffersen.
Kristoffersen also thinks Norwegian Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister’s supporting statements for Xiabo deteriorated the sitatuion.
He also argues that this year’s Peace Prize to the EU makes it impossible for the Chinese to be convinced of the Norwegian government’s argument that the price is not political.