OSLO, Norway – China and 18 other countries have declined to attend this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, Nobel officials said Tuesday as China unleashed a new barrage deriding the decision.
Chinese officials in Beijing called Liu’s backers “clowns” in an anti-Chinese farce — comments that came only three days before the Dec. 10 Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo.
Beijing considers Liu’s recognition an attack on China’s political and legal system, and says the country’s policies will not be swayed by outside forces in what it calls “flagrant interference in China’s sovereignty.”
Liu, 54, is serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges brought after he co-authored a bold call for sweeping changes to China’s one-party communist political system known as Charter 08.
Countries that have turned down an invitation to Friday’s ceremony include Chinese allies Pakistan, Venezuela and Cuba, Chinese neighbors such as Russia, the Philippines and Kazakhstan, and Chinese business partners such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Other countries not appearing at the Oslo City Hall ceremony include Ukraine, Colombia, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Serbia and Morocco.
But at least 44 of the 65 embassies that were invited have accepted the invitation, the prize committee said.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu accused the Nobel committee of “orchestrating a… >>>