China anti-Nobel campaign winning it no friends

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By Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — China's campaign to vilify this year's recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and sabotage the award ceremony showed signs of backfiring Thursday, as criticism of Beijing rose and the imprisoned Chinese dissident seemed to be turning into a celebrity.

While China has successfully pressured more than a dozen countries not to attend Friday's ceremony to honor Liu Xiaobo and began blocking foreign media coverage of the event on the Internet Thursday, analysts said its efforts also appeared to be galvanizing the West, reminding democracies of the gulf between them and Beijing.

Despite the criticism of Beijing's response, China remains too big and too important to be shunned for long: Its role as the world's factory floor rules and banker to the West rule out both political and economic retaliation.

The high-pressure tactics continued unabated Thursday, the same day China handed out its newly inaugurated Confucius Peace Prize — hastily created as a riposte to the Nobel.

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