While China is trying to pressure other countries into boycotting this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, Norway’s King Harald V has made it clear he’ll be attending all the main, annual events tied to the prize, even more than normal.
A palace spokesman told newspaperAftenposten over the weekend that the Norwegian monarch will be attending not only the awards ceremony in Oslo City Hall on December, but also the awards banquet in the evening and the Nobel Concert on December 11. The concert is normally attended by the crown prince and crown princess, butthey’re off traveling for two months on an extended family holiday, so King Harald and Queen Sonja will attend in their absence.
Chinese authorities have sent letters to other countries’ embassies in Oslo in recent weeks urging them not to attendthe Peace Prize ceremony, which traditionally is one of the most coveted invitations of the year. The letters indicate that there will be “consequences” for those who choose to attend.
The letters signal just how angry and embarrassed the Chinese are that the prize was awarded to one of their own dissidents and human rights activists, Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year prison term after demanding democratic reforms. The Chinese government calls Liu a “criminal,” and has accused the Norwegian Nobel Committee and Norway itself of failing to respect China’s legal system.