Ukraine to keep dubious company on Human Rights Day


Ukraine is reported to be among the 19 countries, including China, which have said they will not attend Friday’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. The BBC quotes the Norwegian Nobel Committee as naming Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran as being among those that refused.

Chinese officials earlier said a "vast majority" of the world community would stay away from the ceremony.

The committee describes Mr Liu as "the foremost symbol" of the human rights struggle in China.

It said in a statement that the envoys of Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco would miss the event "for various reasons".

Meanwhile Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said that more than 100 countries supported Beijing.

"Those at the Nobel Committee are orchestrating an anti-China fuss by themselves," Ms Jiang said.

"We are against anybody making an issue out of Liu Xiaobo and interfering in China’s judicial affairs," she said. "We will not change because of interference by a few clowns."

Mr Liu, 54, was a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

Last year he received an 11-year sentence for "inciting subversion" after drafting Charter 08 - which called for multi-party democracy and respect for human rights in China.

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