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19 countries to skip Nobel prize ceremony
OSLO, Dec 7 (Agencies)
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Published on 8 Dec. 2010 12:15 AM IST
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: China and 18 other countries will not attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, officials said, an announcement that comes after a Chinese campaign to dissuade diplomats from showing up.
Embassy representatives, including from Russia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, have turned down an invitation to the Dec. 10 event in Oslo, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee said. At least 44 of the 65 embassies that have been invited have accepted the invitation, it added.
China was infuriated when the committee awarded the prestigious prize to Liu, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for subversion after co-authoring an appeal calling for reforms to China’s one-party political system.
Only one of about 140 Chinese activists invited by Liu’s wife has confirmed he will attend the prize ceremony in the Norwegian capital, according to organizers. Others have been stopped from leaving China or placed under tight surveillance in a crackdown on dissenters following the prize announcement.
Nobel officials have said that none of Liu’s relatives were expected to travel to Oslo to collect the prize on Liu’s behalf. But his wife, Liu Xia, had invited scores of activists and luminaries to attend Friday’s ceremony in an open letter posted online. Earlier Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry denounced backers of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate as “clowns.”
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters in Beijing that the Nobel committee was “orchestrating an anti-China farce by themselves.”
Other countries not planning on attending Friday’s ceremony at Oslo City Hall include Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Colombia and Egypt. It is not unusual that a small number of countries do not attend the ceremony for various reasons. In 2008, when former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the prize 10 embassies did not attend.
Friday’s ceremony will be the first time that a laureate under detention would not be formally represented at the awards gala since Nazi Germany barred pacifist Carl von Ossietzky from coming in 1935.
India to join Liu’s Nobel award ceremony
New York, Dec 7 (IANS): India will attend the ceremony to confer the Nobel Peace Prize on imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo on December 10 at Oslo, even though China has asked the world leaders to boycott the event, a media report said Tuesday. In a statement on its website, the Norwegian Peace Prize committee said that as of Monday, 44 embassies in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, had signalled their intention to send a representative to the ceremony, the New York Times reported.
But the number of the countries which, for various reasons, declined the invitation, had risen to 19 from six three weeks ago, the website said. Invitations to the ceremony are routinely sent only to those 65 countries with embassies in Oslo, Geir Lundestad, the committee’s secretary, said.
Those who accepted included “all the western countries” along with representatives from other countries including India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Japan, he said. Lundestad said there had been reports suggesting that the prize might be handed over to people other than Liu’s close family, but that was not the case. “We assume that no close family will be coming,” he said. “But if someone surfaces, we can change very quickly.”
Those countries which are not taking part in the ceremony include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.
The prize committee has said that for the first time since 1936, the medal and diploma that accompany the prize will not be handed over because neither Liu, who is serving an 11-year sentence for subversionin, nor members of his family have been permitted to travel to Oslo to receive these. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, has been held incommunicado since the award was announced in October and the government has been waging an offensive to rebrand the prize as a Western ploy to undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s hold on power, the report said.
China slams Nobel prize supporters as ‘clowns’
Beijing, Dec 7 (PTI): China today slammed the supporters of Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo as “clowns” engaged in an anti-Chinese farce, as it claimed that “vast majority” of over 100 countries and global organisations may abstain from the award ceremony on Friday.
China has been furious following the award to the 54-year-old democracy campaigner and literary critic and has mounted diplomatic pressure to dissuade other nations, including India, from attending the December 10 ceremony.
China has stepped up criticism of Liu, the Nobel committee, and other supporters ahead of the prize ceremony on Friday, amid reports that China has made the event a prestige issue.
“The erroneous decision has not only met firm opposition from the entire Chinese people but also is not accepted by the vast majority of countries who uphold justice,” Jiang Yu, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a media briefing here today.
“As far as I know at present there over 100 countries and international organisations in the world who expressed support of China’s stand in opposing this year’s Nobel peace prize, which fully show that the majority of international community does not accept the decision,” she claimed.
She described the members of the Nobel committee who awarded the peace prize to the Chinese dissident Liu as “clowns”, claiming: “You can see very clearly that the vast majority of the international community will not attend the ceremony”.
She however declined to provide details.
China has reportedly asked even the head of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pllay not attend the ceremony.
Liu’s wife, Liu Xia and his associates also will not attend the ceremony to receive as they were kept under house arrest.
Denouncing the award as a “cold war” tactic to impact on China’s political system, Jiang said the award was given to a criminal which amounts to open fragrant interference in China’s sovereignty.
The foreign ministry official also castigated Norway for its support to decision.
“It (the award) has destroyed political foundation and environment for bilateral cooperation. It is difficult to continue bilateral relations,” she said, asserting that the responsibility for this lies with Oslo.
Charging the Nobel Committee with “orchestrating anti- China farce”, Jiang said “we are against anyone making issue of Liu and interfering in China’s internal affairs.”

 
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