China pressures others to skip Nobel ceremony

OSLO, Norway – China is pressuring European governments to avoid the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for imprisoned democracy activist Liu Xiaobo and not make any statements in support of him, several diplomats said Thursday.

The Chinese Embassy in Oslo has sent official letters to a number of European embassies in the Norwegian capital asking them not to attend the Dec. 10 ceremony, two Western diplomats said.

According to one of the diplomats in Beijing who said he has seen the letter, China cited its position that Liu is a criminal for his advocacy of widespread political reforms and called the prize an interference in China’s internal affairs.

Liu is serving an 11-year prison term for inciting subversion with Charter 08, a bold call for sweeping political reforms that he co-authored. His wife has been under house arrest since the award was announced in October.

Geir Lundestad, the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said the Chinese ambassador received an invitation but returned it without answering.


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