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Norwegian lawyer lambastes Nobel Committee for promoting controversy, ill will
2010/12/09
 

OSLO, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- A Norwegian lawyer reiterated his criticism against the Nobel Committee on Wednesday for awarding the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to a convicted Chinese criminal, as many countries have declined to attend Friday's award ceremony.

In an email sent to reporters in Oslo, Fredrik S. Heffermehl said "rather than cooperation and dialogue, this year the Nobel Committee has promoted controversy and ill will" by granting the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo.

"A group that has demonstrated such unfamiliarity with modern peacemaking ideas is disqualified and should resign immediately," said Heffermehl, author of the book "The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted."

Liu, 54, was sentenced to 11 years in jail on Dec. 25, 2009, after a Beijing court convicted him of violating Chinese law and engaging in activities aimed at overthrowing the government.

Heffermehl, speaking of the purpose of the prize, noted that "if the committee had respected the purpose Alfred Nobel had in mind, it would build international unity and promote disarmament through international law and institutions."

"Since a lot of human rights abuses result from arms races and wars, a prize true to Nobel's anti-militarist idea would have done much more for human rights in the world and for all kinds of international problems, with environment, poverty, health etc," he said.

"The 2010 Peace Prize reflects the mindset of people still caught in Western paternalism and a Cold War mentality," the Norwegian lawyer said.

"You don't talk to China, you talk with China," said Heffermehl. "Even determined to ignore Nobel, the offense to China was entirely avoidable."

He said he believed the committee could have rewarded numerous efforts to develop an understanding of democracy and the rule of law in China through dialogue and peaceful communication.

The Norwegian lawyer and peace activist said 19 countries will not attend the Dec. 10 award ceremony of the prize, which he regarded as "disconnected from Nobel."

The Nobel Committee said on its website that 19 out of the 65 countries which have embassies in Oslo have declined the invitation to attend this year's Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony.

The 19 countries are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco. Algeria and Sri Lanka have not replied as of Dec. 6, according to the committee.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said earlier that more than 100 countries and international organizations have expressed support for China's stance on this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

"This shows that the majority of international community members do not accept the Nobel Committee's wrong decision," Jiang said at a news briefing.

Since the Nobel Committee granted the Peace Prize to Liu on Oct. 8, Heffermehl has criticized the Nobel Committee on several occasions, saying the Nobel Peace Prize no longer respects Nobel's peace will.

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