Friday, 04 December 2020

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Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony for Liu begins in Oslo

The Nobel Peace Prize committee Friday began its award ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in the face of continuing anger from the Chinese government, a media report said.

Oslo, Dec 10 (IANS) The Nobel Peace Prize committee Friday began its award ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in the face of continuing anger from the Chinese government, a media report said.

There is an empty chair for Liu Xiaobo, who is incarcerated in a jail in northeast China for political offences, BBC reported.

China has waged a wide-ranging campaign to discredit the award in recent weeks.

Ahead of the ceremony, the UN said it had information that China had detained at least 20 activists and was making efforts to block Western media.

A further 120 cases of house arrest, travel restriction, forced relocation and other acts of intimidation have been reported.

In his opening remarks, Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said: 'The Nobel Nomination Committee has long believed there is a close connection between human rights and peace.'

There was a standing ovation from the audience in Oslo city hall.

Jagland compared China's anger at the award to the outcry over peace prizes awarded to other dissidents of their times, including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Myanmarese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was recently released from narly 15 years of house arrest.

He said Liu was dedicating his prize to 'the lost souls from 4 June', those who died in the pro-democracy protests on that date in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

'We can say Liu reminds us of Nelson Mandela,' Jagland said. The former South African president received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

The BBC's Damian Grammaticas, outside Liu Xiaobo's home in Beijing, says uniformed and plainclothes officers are guarding the compound.

Liu's wife, Liu Xia, is under house arrest.

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