Norway told by China not to ‘politicise’ Nobel Peace Prize

China's foreign minister on Thursday sought a speedy conclusion to a free trade deal with Norway but warned Oslo against "politicising" the Nobel by awarding another Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident.

Norway told by China not to 'politicise' Nobel Peace Prize
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi makes an elbow bump with Norway's Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide in Oslo on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Talks on a free-trade pact began in 2008, but relations between Oslo and Beijing were frozen from 2010 to 2016 after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident, Liu Xiabao.

Negotiations resumed in 2017.

“Given the impact of Covid-19, early completion of the China-Norway FTA negotiations is of great significance to the bilateral economic bilateral relations and trade as well as to the efforts to keep the global supply chain open and connected,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters during a visit to Oslo as part of a European tour.

“The two sides need to speed up the negotiation and bring it to early conclusion,” he said.

But the minister warned against “interference” when asked about a proposal to nominate the people of Hong Kong for a Nobel, mooted last year by Norwegian politician Guri Melby, now the minister of education and immigration. Melby is a candidate to become the new leader of the centre-right Liberal party, a junior partner in the government.

Beginning in 2019, Hong Kong saw seven straight months of huge pro-democracy protests, culminating in the passing in June 2020 of a new national security law for Hong Kong by China’s top legislature, severely curbing the freedom of expression of people in the territory.

“In the past, and today, in the future, China will firmly reject any attempt by anyone to use the Nobel Peace Prize to interfere in China's internal affairs. This position of the Chinese side is rock-firm and we do not want to see anyone politicising the Nobel Peace Prize,” Wang said.

This year's Nobel peace prize will be announced in Oslo on October 9th.


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Norwegian MP proposes Black Lives Matter for Nobel Peace Prize

Norwegian MP Petter Eide has nominated Black Lives Matter for the Nobel Peace Prize, reportedly stating that the movement had "forced countries other than the US to face up to racism within their own societies."

Norwegian MP proposes Black Lives Matter for Nobel Peace Prize
A Black Lives Matter demonstration in Oslo, 2016. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB/ TT

“I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality,” Mr Eide said in his nomination papers, according to The Guardian.  

“Black Lives Matter has become a very important worldwide movement to fight racial injustice. They have had a tremendous achievement in raising global awareness and consciousness about racial injustice,” he added.

Founded in the United States in 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum in May 2020 after George Floyd died. A white policeman had knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes ignoring Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe.

The incident fuelled protests in the United States that sped across the world.

“This movement has become one of the strongest global movements for working with racial injustice,” Petter Eide, told AFP.

“They have also been spread to many many countries, building up… awareness on the importance of fighting racial injustice,” he said.

Tens of thousands of people, including MPs and ministers from all countries, former Nobel laureates and distinguished academics, can propose candidates for the various Nobel prizes. The deadline ends on Sunday.

The Nobel prizes will be announced at the start of October.