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

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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.”

Lundestad says the pressure from China to boycott this year’s ceremony is unprecedented in his 20 years as director of the Nobel institute. “It will be obvious that some staying away will be out of political reasons,” he says. “I have never experienced in this form that an embassy contacts others.”

Human rights issue

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Liu on Oct. 8 for his “long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” He took part in the Tianamen protests in 1989 and is a leading author of Charter 08, a manifesto published in 2008 demanding basic human rights and political reform in China.

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