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How China has put Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize in the limelight

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Many will see this year's ceremony as a gauge of China's influence in Europe, and whether countries here are willing to overlook human rights issues to secure better ties with Beijing. In recent weeks, China has discouraged many countries from sending representatives to the Nobel ceremony.

So far, 36 out of the around 58 embassies have agreed to attend. Russia, Cuba, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Morocco, and China are among those that declined, according to the Norwegian Nobel Institute. Sixteen have still not replied, most likely because they are awaiting clarifications from their governments. But embassies representing all of the EU member countries and the US will most likely be attending, as well as Japan.

“These kinds of tactics are counter-productive,” says James Lampton, director of the China Studies Program at John Hopkins University. “These countries won’t capitulate to pressure.”

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