Video: The empty chair

posted at 4:27 pm on December 10, 2010 by Allahpundit

A grand moment from today’s poignant Nobel ceremony, the first since 1936 where neither the Peace Prize winner nor a close relative was permitted to attend. Choosing Liu Xiaobo was the Nobel committee’s way of testing China: After years of economic liberalization, were they ready to make a small concession to political liberalization too? Or would they prefer to follow the Nazi example and keep Liu locked away? We now have our answer; if the award accomplishes nothing else (which may well be the case), there’s at least a bit of extra clarity in that. The only surprise, in fact, is how sustained China’s tantrum over this has been. Instead of ignoring the ceremony, the foreign ministry issued angry statements and demanded (with some success) that its authoritarian allies boycott the award; the Chinese gestapo were deployed to snatch Liu’s friends off the streets; and the government decided to create its own sham “peace prize” to try to sap some of the prestige of the Nobel for Liu. That seems like a bizarre overreaction given western assumptions that the Chinese government has the dissident movement well under control by now. Maybe our assumptions are wrong?

The Telegraph has highlights from the “Charter 08″ manifesto that landed Liu in prison, and here’s Obama’s statement this morning acknowledging that Liu “is far more deserving of this award than I was.” Some people are goofing on that as an example of The One once again being self-referential, but I suspect that sentiment will sound much different to Chinese ears than it does to ours. The money quote: “Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law. The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible.” Indeed. Good for him for saying it, good for Pelosi for showing solidarity by attending the ceremony, and good for the committee for having the stones to go through with this. My expectations for international institutions are so low that I half-expected them to cancel the whole thing once Liu and his family were prevented from attending. Instead, they made a spectacle of China’s thuggery by deliberately presenting the award to an empty chair. Superb.


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There was an empty chair last year also. Oh, wait, it was an empty suit.

Dingbat63 on December 10, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Emty chari this year, empty suit last year?

anikol on December 10, 2010 at 4:31 PM

that empty chair represents the “stability” so many realists and progressives have made a hallmark of their foreign policy.

rob verdi on December 10, 2010 at 4:31 PM

shucks…

anikol on December 10, 2010 at 4:31 PM

glad they did it. empty chair symbolism is pretty heavy.

and I’m sure the ChiComms were livid over it. The guy probably got his as$ beat over it today.

ted c on December 10, 2010 at 4:33 PM

That seems like a bizarre overreaction

This was exactly my reaction, too, AP. Seems the PRC govt could have just ignored the whole thing and nobody would really pay attention after a few weeks. What’s up?

jwolf on December 10, 2010 at 4:35 PM

let that empty chair be a metaphor for those who would look to China and see the “greatness” of that country. A country that imprisoned its own citizen for speaking up, that aborts babies by the millions, and that embarks upon draconian rules to keep the citizenry down. Whew…I had to breathe there for a second and make sure I was describing China and not the US….

ted c on December 10, 2010 at 4:35 PM

OT: I’m watching the press conference and Obama has Clinton up there in front of the presidential podium answering questions and trying to convince the Dems to go with extending the tax cuts. Can you imagine the howling the left would be doing if Bush brought his father up to the podium to convince his own party to pass a bill? Barry is pathetic!

mizflame98 on December 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

This was an chance for China to display at least a small gesture that they might be opening just a little.

Its a shame, and a missed opportunity.

portlandon on December 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

mizflame98 on December 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

So true. Have a former President up there to prop up the new one is pathetic.

Essentially, Obama has been President for almost 2 years, and now he is putting the training wheels back on by making BillyJeff help out.

portlandon on December 10, 2010 at 4:38 PM

mizflame98 on December 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

You are kidding me! Voting present, I see.

INC on December 10, 2010 at 4:39 PM

“But Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law.”

This…

… in Obowma’s America?

Seven Percent Solution on December 10, 2010 at 4:39 PM

The guy probably got his as$ beat over it today.

ted c on December 10, 2010 at 4:33 PM

We will probably see a news brief that he died of injuries from jumping out of the cellar window or falling down a flight of stairs.

belad on December 10, 2010 at 4:40 PM

mizflame98 on December 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Amazing, isn’t it? And Barry just left and Bill is fielding questions.

***face palm***

Knucklehead on December 10, 2010 at 4:41 PM

“I’ve not seen or witnessed evidence of any smoking in probably nine months,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. “I think he has worked extremely hard.

If Obama keeps this up, in two years he will have at least one item on his short list of accomplishments.

J_Crater on December 10, 2010 at 4:41 PM

ANYONE CATCH THE OBAMA AND CLINTON PRESS CONFERENCE? OBAMA LOOKED VERY ANNOYED STANDING THERE WHILE CLINTON RANTS FOR MORE THAN 30 MINUTES AND THEN SUDDENLY LEAVES.

jaboba on December 10, 2010 at 4:43 PM

A grand moment from today’s poignant Nobel ceremony, the first since 1936 where neither the Peace Prize winner nor a close relative was permitted to attend.

I did not realize it had been this long. What happened in 1936?

My expectations for international institutions are so low that I half-expected them to cancel the whole thing once Liu and his family were prevented from attending.

I am glad they held this ceremony and the empty chair is quite pointed, but they have many years of rehab before gaining credibility.

INC on December 10, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Can you imagine the howling the left would be doing if Bush brought his father up to the podium to convince his own party to pass a bill? Barry is pathetic!

mizflame98 on December 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

mizflame98:So true,me thinks its the beginning of the End,
for Progressives!

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Quite a contrast in ceremonies between the Nobel and Obama’s “I’ve kept my wife waiting…” exit.

Drained Brain on December 10, 2010 at 4:45 PM

ummmm, is this 1997? I just turned on the tv and bubba is at the podium

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Hmmmm. Empty chair for an empty Award. Go figure.

GarandFan on December 10, 2010 at 4:47 PM

mizflame98:So true,me thinks its the beginning of the End,
for Progressives!

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 4:44 PM

from your keyboard to God’s ears my friend

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 4:48 PM

The Empty Chair what patent nonsense, symbolic gestures are for idiots and liberals. Hey just like the Nobel Prize.

Tommy_G on December 10, 2010 at 4:49 PM

This does serve to drive home an important lesson to all of us, I think. No matter how much we may rant and rave here about our freedoms being taken away by an ever-increasing federal government, we have it a lot better than most of the world. China would have us all behind bars. For that much, I am truly thankful to live in America, I don’t care who is leading it currently or in the future because we actually have a say in that.

Mord on December 10, 2010 at 4:50 PM

So,I’m thinking about this,where is Richard Gere,on this!
==========================================================

In New York, actor Richard Gere

joined a coalition of Tibetan, Chinese, and international human rights organizations at a press conference outside of the United Nations

to celebrate Liu Xiaobo’s award. The coalition released a statement calling for Liu Xiaobo’s freedom and for China to release all those detained for exercising their basic human rights. Read the full statement.
===============================

http://blog.studentsforafreetibet.org/2010/12/actor-richard-gere-joins-tibetans-chinese-at-united-nations-to-honor-liu-xiaobos-nobel-prize/

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 4:51 PM

OT: I’m watching the press conference and Obama has Clinton up there in front of the presidential podium answering questions and trying to convince the Dems to go with extending the tax cuts. Can you imagine the howling the left would be doing if Bush brought his father up to the podium to convince his own party to pass a bill? Barry is pathetic!

mizflame98 on December 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

You know, I always wondered when Hillary was running back in 2008 if elected would we witness a time when Bubba would be fielding questions as if he were the President or a member of her cabinet.

I never ever thought something like that would happen after Barry won. It’s bad enough dude has been dodging the press for most of the last 18 months. But to stick Clinton out there to try to sell his tax cut compromise?!

Doughboy on December 10, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Wow! I am surprised I agree with Obama. But then again it is just a speech. I have actually agreed with a lot of things he has said. The problem is that he says just the opposite after that and then his policies have been 100% wrong.

I would like to read every single bill he has signed and see if there might be a small bill that maybe I could agree with him on. Of every big thing he has done, he is batting a solid .000

jeffn21 on December 10, 2010 at 4:52 PM

ummmm, is this 1997? I just turned on the tv and bubba is at the podium

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Geez, don’t tell me Barry’s having his way with an intern. That’s Billy Jeff’s specialty.

fogw on December 10, 2010 at 4:52 PM

The ChiComs are scum. Hope Friedman and the other useful idiots are paying attention, though I doubt it.

Grayson on December 10, 2010 at 4:53 PM

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 4:44 PM
============================
from your keyboard to God’s ears my friend

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 4:48 PM

cmsinaz:

And another kicker,The First African American President
who is Co-Piloting the Second African America President!:)

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 4:54 PM

ummmm, is this 1997? I just turned on the tv and bubba is at the podium

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 4:46 PM

And he’s still up there. 45 minutes and counting!!

Knucklehead on December 10, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Whether it’s China or the US, nothing scares leftist trash more than speech from the other side.

No real shock in the events, today. The only thing we’re missing is Special Ed Schulze and his little lapdog, Al Sharpton, offering words of encouragement, to their fellow leftist trash.

MNHawk on December 10, 2010 at 4:55 PM

There was an empty chair last year also. Oh, wait, it was an empty suit.

Dingbat63 on December 10, 2010 at 4:30 PM

-
We all thought it. You just got here first… so naahh…..
-

RalphyBoy on December 10, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Was the chair MADE IN CHINA?

Turn it over, some journalist, and check the tsg.

Obama also might have said “he should be released immediately” not “as soon as possible“, which a true Obama hedge, since he is the jellyfish of presidents.

profitsbeard on December 10, 2010 at 4:57 PM

ummmm, is this 1997? I just turned on the tv and bubba is at the podium

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 4:46 PM

cmsinaz:

According to Neil Cavuto,the El Camino shagged carpeted
previous owner,Sexual Predator of the Oval Office,is now
babbling at da WH!:)

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Online Streaming Fox News
**************************

http://atdhe.net/4371/watch-fox-news

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 5:00 PM

I’ve been in that building, strolled through that room, and even have photos of those blue chairs…I also walked past the balcony the obamas stood on when they waved to the adoring masses last year.

Jes’ saying. :)

/gratuitous? What’s gratuitous?

Bob's Kid on December 10, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Bob’s Kid on December 10, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Was that the kind of stuff Clinton was saying?

INC on December 10, 2010 at 5:08 PM

This was an chance for China to display at least a small gesture that they might be opening just a little.

Its a shame, and a missed opportunity.

portlandon on December 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Agreed

DarkCurrent on December 10, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Of all the reasons that giving Barry a Nobel was a moronic thing to do, none looms larger than the lost opportunity to bring the world’s attention, and by extension a modicum of protection, to someone like Liu Xiaobo. An award for a vapid celebrity like BO did nothing to advance peace, freedom or anything except TheWon’s ego. But how many dissidents struggle for freedom the world over, at daily risk of murder or disappearance, for whom a Nobel Peace Prize might have given them the notoriety and protection to — I dunno — bring peace to their people. Instead they gave it to the single most protected person on the planet. What a waste.

SoRight on December 10, 2010 at 5:17 PM

FT: The money quote: “Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law.”

Open society?? Is the democratics’ favorite Nazi stooge George Soros running Nobel now? What the hell?

slickwillie2001 on December 10, 2010 at 5:18 PM

It’s a shame that the Nobel Peace prize is meaningless but that is what happens when you award it to AlGore and Obama.

roux on December 10, 2010 at 5:24 PM

blockquote>Geez, don’t tell me Barry’s having his way with an intern. That’s Billy Jeff’s specialty.

fogw on December 10, 2010 at 4:52 PM

yuck

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 5:26 PM

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 4:54 PM

ooooh snap

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Knucklehead on December 10, 2010 at 4:54 PM

you know he was enjoying the spotlight…

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 5:27 PM

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 4:58 PM

heh

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 5:28 PM

I read this and almost threw up.

Does Allah think the Nobel Peace prize MEANS something?

Please.

HondaV65 on December 10, 2010 at 5:30 PM

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 4:58 PM
=========
heh

cmsinaz on December 10, 2010 at 5:28 PM

cmsinaz:)

canopfor on December 10, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Geez, don’t tell me Barry’s having his way with an intern. That’s Billy Jeff’s specialty.

fogw on December 10, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Except this time, it’s a male intern.

Dominion on December 10, 2010 at 5:35 PM

I did not realize it had been this long. What happened in 1936?

INC on December 10, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Hitler prevents Carl von Ossietzky from leaving Germany to receive Noble Peace Prize He received it in 1936 instead.

NaCly dog on December 10, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Last year the empty suit; this year the empty chair. The Peas Prize is collapsing like AGW arguments since ClimateGate.

ya2daup on December 10, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Does Allah think the Nobel Peace prize MEANS something?

Please.

HondaV65 on December 10, 2010 at 5:30 PM

No, it means absolutely nothing. That’s why the Chinese government has been freaking out about it for weeks. The fact that they wouldn’t even let his wife attend answers your question.

You (and I) may not agree with all the winners, but there’s no need to be snotty when they do the right thing. All they can do is make gestures, but they made a good one in this case.

Allahpundit on December 10, 2010 at 6:20 PM

The ChiComs are scum. Hope Friedman and the other useful idiots are paying attention, though I doubt it.

Grayson on December 10, 2010 at 4:53 PM

I suspect that Tom Friedman’s phone is off the hook for a couple of days.

slickwillie2001 on December 10, 2010 at 6:57 PM

jwolf on December 10, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Understand the concept of the ‘mandate of heaven’ and the importance it holds for ‘he who rules’ (in the PRC’s case, ‘they’ who rule…), and you will understand why they are behaving as they are.

From their POV, to do anything less is to invite ruin. It may sound silly, but they (the Chinese leaders) see zero difference between the Falun Gong and the White Lotus Society insofar they’re concerned.

In that part of world, messing with the ruler’s mojo in any way is an invite to a haircut…starting at the neck.

CPT. Charles on December 10, 2010 at 7:07 PM

Of all the reasons that giving Barry a Nobel was a moronic thing to do, none looms larger than the lost opportunity to bring the world’s attention, and by extension a modicum of protection, to someone like Liu Xiaobo. An award for a vapid celebrity like BO did nothing to advance peace, freedom or anything except TheWon’s ego. But how many dissidents struggle for freedom the world over, at daily risk of murder or disappearance, for whom a Nobel Peace Prize might have given them the notoriety and protection to — I dunno — bring peace to their people. Instead they gave it to the single most protected person on the planet. What a waste.

SoRight on December 10, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Agreed.. In a just world, this prize should be promoting the work of real peacemakers and bringing scrutiny to their oppressors. Howevever, it’s become all about America bashing (Barry!! Jimmy!!) and promoting trendy causes (global warming!!) over the past few decades. At its best, the Nobel Peace Prize can really shine a light on heroic people working against awful regimes. I didn’t know anything about Liu Xiaobo or his work as a dissident in China; now the committee and China’s freakout have made this a huge story. However, I think that too many such deserving people don’t get the recognition that will help their cause because the committee has a tendency to favor trendy causes or people. A real dissident like Liu Xiaobo didn’t get recognized last year, because the committee wanted to stick it to Dubya and express their hatred of America. Seriously.. one of the shortlisted candidates was a doctor who specialized in treating women raped by rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So I applaud them for being right on this occasion, but I’d prefer that they’d do it more often.

Illinidiva on December 10, 2010 at 7:10 PM

I suspect that Tom Friedman’s phone is off the hook for a couple of days.

slickwillie2001 on December 10, 2010 at 6:57 PM

I was thinking the same thing. That, or he’s writing an editorial right now on how inappropriate and misguided this symbolic gesture is and that the committee should apologize to the great and prosperous nation of China for this insult.

Rod on December 10, 2010 at 7:13 PM

How about 500,000,000 chairs for the victims of abortion in the USA, and a Nobel Prize for those that defend the life of the most innocent?

Doubt it.

Hening on December 10, 2010 at 7:13 PM

good for the committee for having the stones to go through with this

Really? It took stones to finally do the right thing? Or were they supposed to be cowed by the CCP’s bluster? I don’t want to take away from the Nobel Committee’s gesture today, but let’s not kid ourselves that standing up to authoritarian bullies like the Chi-coms is an act of bravery. It should be encouraged and accepted behavior by all parties, not something special.

KGB on December 10, 2010 at 8:59 PM

One year ago, I was humbled to receive the Nobel Peace Prize – an award that speaks to our highest aspirations, and that has been claimed by giants of history and courageous advocates who have sacrificed for freedom and justice. Mr. Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was.
- President Obama

Very classy, Mr. President.

Rightwingguy on December 11, 2010 at 1:19 AM

Right on Rightwingguy, when truth is spoken it does sound classy coming from a mouthpiece such as BHO. I hope this shows the world the true intent of the Chinese nation. After talking to “westernized” and educated Chinese I’ve come to my own conclusions of their intent. The older generations remembers the cruelty, the younger does not, and has bought the line of supremacy over the other races. We are in for a death struggle < 20 years.

moyeti on December 12, 2010 at 10:01 AM