Nobel Peace Prize handover in limbo

2010-11-17 17:57

Oslo - No members of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo's immediate family can come to Oslo to receive his Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad said on Wednesday.

"It seems that Liu Xiaobo's family has given up hope that someone in the laureat's family will be able to travel from China and be present in Oslo on December 10," Lundestad told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

No one from the family was on an updated guest list on Wednesday, he said.

Lundestad added that the December 10 prize ceremony would go ahead, but said the Nobel Peace Prize medal, diploma, and award of 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.4m) would not be handed out.

It is expected to be the first time in the prize's 109-year-history that neither the laureate nor a representative will show up to receive the prestigious award.

On three previous occasions the Peace Prize winner was unable to make it to Oslo, but each time a representative attended the Oslo ceremony and collected the prize instead.

NRK said the only guests from Liu's side were members of the Chinese diaspora or Chinese who lived in Hong Kong.

Liu, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison last December on subversion charges after co-authoring a manifesto calling for political reform in China, was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 8 - enraging China's rulers.

Beijing, which considers Liu a "criminal," has threatened there will be "consequences" for countries that support the dissident.

The Chinese embassy in Oslo has sent a letter to other countries' missions in the city requesting that they refrain from attending the ceremony.

Despite the warning, most Western countries, including the United States, Britain, France and Germany have already said they will attend.