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Nobel Prize committee to China: A growing world power needs to handle criticism better

Following months of Chinese pressure, 19 countries plan to boycott tomorrow's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

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Counter-demonstration by Chinese residents in Norway

However, there is expected to be a counter-demonstration tomorrow morning by 100 Chinese residents in Norway against the decision to award the prize to Liu, according to Yaming Yuen, head of the Norway-China Association. He and several other Chinese members delivered a protest letter with 297 signatures earlier this week to the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

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Some observers, including the Institute, have called into question the authenticity of the protesters. Amnesty International said it had been informed by reliable sources in the Chinese diaspora that mainland Chinese residents in Norway had been repeatedly visited and called in to meetings over the past two months by representatives of the Chinese government.

“We are shocked that Chinese authorities would bring the oppressive atmosphere of Beijing to Oslo,” said John Peder Egenæs, director of Amnesty International Norway.

19 countries boycott ceremony

China’s pressure tactics are also believed to have influenced the number of embassies attending this year ceremony.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute said 19 out of the 65 embassies had declined to attend the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony, roughly twice the average absence rate, following a letter campaign by the Chinese embassy in Oslo discouraging the countries to send their diplomats.

RELATED: 19 Countries take China's side on Nobel Prize

The list of absentees includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Argentina, Cuba, and Morocco.

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