If you, like China, think that the Nobel committee is a bunch of “clowns” who are “orchestrating an anti-China fuss” you can add yourself to the growing list of 19 countries who are banning Friday’s awards ceremony in Oslo, Norway.
The coveted 2010 prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident who is serving a prison term for subversion and anti-government activity. He’s the first Chinese citizen to win the award, and Beijing didn’t take it as a complement. They’ve forbidden Xiaobo and his family to travel to Norway to accept the award, so for the first time since 1936 (when Nazi Germany prevented journalist Carl von Ossietzky from attending) an empty seat and portrait of Xiaobo will take the place of the political prisoner.
(See TIME’s Top 10 Political Prisoners)
There are 58 countries with embassies in Oslo. So far, 19 of those, including China, have announced that they won’t be represented at the ceremony. Presumably under pressure to boycott (Beijing warned there would be “consequences” for the nations that supported Xiaobo), they are Afghanistan, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sudan, Tunisia, Venezuela, Vietnam and Ukraine.
(Should Liu Xiaobo be TIME’s Person of the Year?)
Forty four countries have said they’ll attend, and Algeria and Sri Lanka have yet to respond. (via New York Times)