Ya rly. Srsly.
It was an event for the benefit of foreign media. But if the organisers had hoped the Confucius Peace Prize would convince the world China is right, it failed. And, in the opinion of this correspondent, it was an epic public relations fail.
During the question and answer period in the increasingly stuffy conference room of a central Beijing hotel, the Confucius Peace Prize Awards Committee couldn't even bring themselves to say Liu Xiaobo's name, instead circuitously referring to him as "he of the three-character name you mentioned".
When Liu Xiaobo conjures up Harry Potter's Lord Voldemort, the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, you know some Chinese are experiencing a crisis.
The press conference went from bad to worse, as question after question was asked.
"Jimmy Carter was one of your nominees for the first Confucius Peace Prize. Carter signed a letter asking for the release of Liu. Does this make you a supporter of a supporter of Liu?"
Or, "Doesn't it bother you and speak volumes if Lien Chan, the winner, hasn't shown up? Do you just have a hard time accepting the truth?"
Or this one, by a Hong Kong journalist, "Have you studied Confucius? Because you appear to have gotten the concepts wrong..."
[Pardon my abbreviated blogging of late. Things are ch-ch-ch-changing. Hopefully, for the better.]