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Nineteen Countries To Miss Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Nobel Peace Prize winner and dissident Liu Xiaobo with his wife Liu Xia. Liu is currently serving a prison sentence in China.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee says China and 18 other countries have declined invitations to attend the December 10 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

It said that the envoys of 19 countries -- including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine -- will miss the event "for various reasons."

Meanwhile in Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman (Jiang Yu) denounced supporters of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu as 'clowns' taking part in a farce.

The Nobel committee has said China had carried out an unprecedented campaign to keep envoys away from the gala for Liu, who is serving an 11-year jail term.

compiled from agency reports