India snubs china, to attend Nobel Ceremony

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Old 08-Dec-2010
India snubs china, to attend Nobel Ceremony

Oslo December 8:

India will attend the ceremony for presentation of Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Oslo, Norway. The issue is a vexed one with China asking everyone to boycott the ceremony.

However, most invited countries will attend Friday's Nobel peace prize ceremony, Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad said today, contradicting a statement from China. "You only have to look at the figures. The vast majority of countries invited will be represented," Lundestad told agencies.

According to the Nobel Institute, 44 embassies have accepted invitations to the event while 19 have refused "for various reasons" and two have not replied. China said earlier that the vast majority of countries would not attend the ceremony in honour of Liu, described by Beijing as a criminal. The Nobel Institute traditionally invites all ambassadors posted in Oslo to the Nobel prize ceremony. China has threatened there will be "consequences" for countries that show their support for Liu by attending the event.

Besides China, the countries who have declined to participate in Friday's ceremony in the Oslo city hall are: Afghanistan, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam. Algeria and Sri Lanka had not yet responded to their invitations by the end of the day Monday. In Beijing, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu meanwhile told reporters Tuesday "the vast majority of the international community will not attend the ceremony."

"More than 100 countries support us," he said, calling the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee "clowns." The Nobel organisers meanwhile stressed there were various reasons why some countries would not attend. Russia for instance has said scheduling difficulties rather than political considerations were keeping it away. The Nobel Institute has also pointed out that when the largely uncontroversial 2008 prize was awarded to Martti Ahtisaari, 10 embassies did not attend.

Liu, a writer, was jailed in December 2009 for 11 years on subversion charges after co-authoring "Charter 08", a manifesto that spread quickly on the Internet calling for political reform and greater rights in China. The laureate himself, who remains in prison, will not be able to attend and neither will his wife, Liu Xia, who has been held in house arrest since the prize was announced in October. An empty chair, a photograph and one of his texts read by Norwegian actress Liv Ullman will represent Liu at the ceremony.

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