The number of countries avoiding Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony has more than tripled in the last three weeks, from six to 19, as countries cave to pressure from China to snub the dissident. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba, and Morocco have all “for various reasons declined our invitations,” the Nobel committee announced on its website yesterday.
China has waged a relentless campaign to ruin the ceremony (for proof, check out our Liu Nobel Prize grid). “I would like to say to those at the Nobel committee, they are orchestrating an anti-China farce by themselves,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said yesterday. “We are not changing because of interference by a few clowns and we will not change our path.” But the bluster hasn't deterred most Western nations; 44 countries have signaled their intention to come, the New York Times reports. (Read more Liu Xiaobo stories.)