Why is Oslo kowtowing to Beijing and stiff-arming the Dalai Lama?
The arc of the moral universe is long,” Martin Luther King Jr. Once said, “but it bends towards justice.” That was in 1967, however, when the pull of a shambolic China barely registered. Today, the wealthy and powerful country China has become now exerts a powerful force on the moral world. Beijing curtails international involvement in Syria, helps shore up North Korea’s brutal regime, and punishes those who criticize its own human rights violations. That arc still remains long — but now it bends toward accommodation.
The most worrying recent example of this trend is the Norwegian prime minister’s refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama, who is visiting Oslo on May 7-9, in part to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Nobel Peace Prize. The Dalai Lama has visited Norway roughly a dozen times since receiving the prize in 1989 — but things are different now.
Norway’s relationship with China has been frozen since 2010 when the Norwegian Nobel Committee, an independent group of five judgesappointed by the Norwegian parliament, gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Liu had been sentenced in 2009 to 11 years in prison for subversion; probably for spearheading a drive for constitutional reform. By barring Liu and his family from attending, Beijing marked only the second time in history that a Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in absentia — the first being to a dissident in Nazi Germany. For a country trying to portray its rise as peaceful, it was an uncomfortable parallel. A furious Beijing blamed Oslo for the decision, and suspended trade and political links with Norway. [Source]