- China - Nobel Prize
China slams Nobel ceremony as 'farce' ahead of Oslo event
Angered by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, Beijing is clamping down on activists and pressuring several countries not to attend the awards ceremony in Oslo on Friday, which China has dismissed as a "farce".
AFP - China's state press on Friday compared the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to a cult ritual, saying the event to take place in Norway was a "farce".
Friday's ceremony honouring this year's peace laureate, jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, has angered China which has orchestrated a huge clampdown on dissidents and exerted pressure on other countries not to attend the Oslo event.
"It's unimaginable that such a farce, the like of which is more commonly seen in cults, is being staged on the civilised continent of Europe," the state-run Global Times said in a commentary.
"Tonight's political show is not an easy task for the Norwegians. They have to ignore the signs of China's drastic changes and social progress, in a bid to convince themselves that China's 'darkness' is real."
The editorial also described the ceremony -- which takes place on international Human Rights Day -- as a "farce that puts China on trial."
Liu was jailed for 11 years in December 2009 for subversion after co-authoring Charter 08, a petition urging political reform in China. As such, the government has denounced the prize as tantamount to encouraging crime.
Neither Liu nor his wife Liu Xia -- who has been under almost constant house arrest since the announcement of the prize two months ago -- nor other members of his family will be able to collect his award in Oslo.
Scores of activists and lawyers have also been prevented from leaving China in an apparent bid by authorities to stop them from attending the ceremony, and many are currently unaccounted for or under strict surveillance.
The official People's Daily newspaper said the Nobel committee was facing "an unprecedented embarrassment."
"Those gentlemen in Oslo may think that with the Nobel prize's fame and the support of some Western political forces, they will get a standing ovation. They are wrong!" it said.
The paper said more than 100 countries and international organisations supported China's position -- a stance repeated several times by the Chinese foreign ministry.
About 20 countries have declined Norway's invitation to Friday's ceremony, including China.