India snubs China, to attend Nobel ceremony

India will attend the ceremony for presentation of Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident.

Last Updated: Dec 07, 2010, 19:00 PM IST

Oslo: India will attend the ceremony for presentation of Nobel
Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Oslo, Norway. The issue is a vexed one with China asking everyone to boycott the ceremony.

However, most invited countries will attend Friday`s Nobel peace prize ceremony, Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad said today, contradicting a statement from China.

"You only have to look at the figures. The vast
majority of countries invited will be represented," Lundestad
told agencies.

According to the Nobel Institute, 44 embassies have
accepted invitations to the event while 19 have refused "for
various reasons" and two have not replied.

China said earlier that the vast majority of countries
would not attend the ceremony in honour of Liu, described by
Beijing as a criminal.

The Nobel Institute traditionally invites all
ambassadors posted in Oslo to the Nobel prize ceremony.
China has threatened there will be "consequences" for
countries that show their support for Liu by attending the
event.

Besides China, the countries who have declined to
participate in Friday`s ceremony in the Oslo city hall are:
Afghanistan, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan,
Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia,
Serbia, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam.

Algeria and Sri Lanka had not yet responded to their
invitations by the end of the day Monday.

In Beijing, China`s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang
Yu meanwhile told reporters Tuesday "the vast majority of the
international community will not attend the ceremony."

"More than 100 countries support us," he said, calling
the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee "clowns."

The Nobel organisers meanwhile stressed there were
various reasons why some countries would not attend. Russia
for instance has said scheduling difficulties rather than
political considerations were keeping it away.

The Nobel Institute has also pointed out that when the
largely uncontroversial 2008 prize was awarded to Martti
Ahtisaari, 10 embassies did not attend.

Liu, a writer, was jailed in December 2009 for 11
years on subversion charges after co-authoring "Charter 08", a
manifesto that spread quickly on the Internet calling for
political reform and greater rights in China.

The laureate himself, who remains in prison, will not
be able to attend and neither will his wife, Liu Xia, who has
been held in house arrest since the prize was announced in
October.

An empty chair, a photograph and one of his texts read
by Norwegian actress Liv Ullman will represent Liu at the
ceremony.

-PTI