As the result of diplomatic pressure, we are told, the Ambassadors of perhaps 50 countries will not attend the award ceremony to give the Nobel peace prize to Liu Xiaobao.
The Chinese are claiming something of a success.
It is all rather disappointing, it means that China lines up with some of the very nastiest regimes on the planet.
China has refused to let any close relative collect the prize, so for the first time since 1935, when the Nazis prevented Carl von Ossietzky from receiving the prize, the ceremony will not, in fact see the prize actually awarded.
That is, in itself a pretty terrible state of affairs. What is even more bitter is the fact that the ideas that Liu Xiabao has been imprisoned for: democracy and pluralism, are actively discussed at the highest level in China- as we know from the recently published memoirs of the late Zhao Ziyang.
The Chinese government is lying to its own people when it says that there is little international support for Mr. Liu. It is lying to itself when it claims that it doesn't matter.
Unless China moves in a more democratic and open direction, it risks all the economic progress that has been made in the last thirty years. It is time that China modernised its politics to match its dynamic economy. Mr Liu recognises this, as do many people inside the Chinese Communist Party itself.
Yet, by making a martyr of a Democrat, the outgoing generation of Chinese leaders is leaving a poisonous legacy to its successors and risks undermining the very legitimacy of the People's Republic.