China loses face with boycott of peace prize
Without doubt, this is a black week for the image of the "new" China. At lunchtime on Friday, the world will fix its gaze upon an empty chair on a stage in Oslo Town Hall and pause to contemplate the iniquities of China's one-party state.
There will, from a Chinese perspective, be an absolutely maddening whiff of self-righteousness in the air as this year's Nobel peace laureate, Liu Xiaobo, is lauded in absentia for his 20-year struggle to bring "fundamental human rights" to the country.
Mr Liu might be incarcerated far away in China's frozen northeast, but despite all the efforts of the state's vast security apparatus to silence him and his supporters, his cry for individual freedom will be broadcast around the planet.