Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiaobo, may have triggered a war between authorities in China and the Nobel committee. For the first time in history, the award may not be handed out this year, as neither the laureate nor a close family member has the ability to collect the prize due to government constraints. Liu is now serving an 11-year sentence for subversion.
“The way it looks now, it is not likely that someone from his close family will attend,” Geir Lundestad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said. “Then we will not give out the medal and the diploma during the ceremony.”
Using any method they can find to strike back at the committee, China has been up to its old antics recently by releasing a murderer and cancelling a musical. In addition, six countries have recently declined invitation to the ceremony for the jailed dissident, namely China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Morocco and Iraq. No reason was given for their actions, but we’re sure you can all take a rough estimate.
Earlier this month China wrote to all diplomats in the Norwegian capital pressuring them not to attend the ceremony. They received letters warning there would be “consequences” if their governments showed support for Liu Xiaobo – whom Beijing says is a “criminal”.
The pageant is still scheduled for the 10th of December, set to feature a speech by the chairman of the peace committee as well as music from a children’s choir, as requested by Liu Xiaobo. The last time a winner was unable to accept the medal and diploma was in 1936, when German journalist Carl was “seriously ill” and unable to leave Nazi Germany, when in fact he was in a concentration camp. It’s strange to think that 74 years later the only change in the situation is in nationality.