China claims victory as 19 countries spurn Nobel ceremony

The extent of China's efforts to belittle the Nobel Peace Prize was fully revealed yesterday when the award's committee announced that 19 of the 65 countries asked to attend Friday's ceremony honouring the jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo had turned down their invitations.

China was furious when the committee awarded the prestigious prize to Mr Liu, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for subversion. It has worked hard behind the scenes to exert pressure on allies to boycott the ceremony, and yesterday branded the results proof that the award did not have the world's approval.

"You can see that the vast majority of the international community will not attend the ceremony," the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. "We will not change because of wind blowing the grass and because of the interference of clowns who are anti-China."

The Nobel committee in Norway viewed the matter differently, pointing out that only the 65 countries with embassies in Norway were invited, of which 44 accepted, and calling the Chinese view "a curious way of stating things".

The list of non-participants in the 10 December event in Oslo includes embassy representatives from Russia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. Many of the countries which will not be attending rely on strong diplomatic relations with China. A senior Filipino diplomat told Reuters that its non-attendance was intended to avoid another major spat with China soon after a diplomatic freeze when eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a Manila bus hijacking in August. "We do not want further to annoy China," the official said.

Some embassies have tried to fudge the issue. The German ambassador is unlikely to attend, but the Berlin government will be represented by a deputy, in what looks like a move to fulfil Germany's diplomatic role but not offend the Chinese government.

The list of participants has been similarly reduced because no one in the Chinese dissident community is allowed to travel. Nobel officials have said that none of Mr Liu's relatives were expected to travel to Oslo to collect the prize on Mr Liu's behalf. But his wife, Liu Xia, had invited scores of activists and luminaries to attend the ceremony in an open letter posted online.

Mr Liu is serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges brought after he co-authored a bold call for sweeping changes to the one-party communist political system known as Charter 08. His wife has been placed under house arrest, as have numerous lawyers, academics and activists.

Beijing considers Mr 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".

Only one of about 140 Chinese activists invited by Mr Liu's wife has confirmed he will attend the prize ceremony in the Norwegian capital. Most of the others have been stopped from leaving China or placed under surveillance.

Any lingering doubt over the determination of China's opposition to the award was further dispelled yesterday by the news that Beijing will award its own alternative to the Nobel tomorrow.

Three weeks after the idea was first mooted, China yesterday announced the 'Confucius Peace Prize', founded to "interpret the viewpoints of peace of (the) Chinese (people)." The first honoree was former Taiwanese vice president Lien Chan, for "building a bridge of peace between the mainland and Taiwan."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Beverley James: Accounts Payable

£22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...

Beverley James: Accounts Assistant

£30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower