Iceland has defied warnings from China that any nation who sends representatives to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo’s award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize will face consequences.
The author was arrested and sentenced in December 2009 to eleven years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power”. Last September, Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr, meeting with Chinese officials, surprised them with a letter calling for his “immediate and unconditional release”. This was followed shortly thereafter by a unanimous resolution from parliament calling for the same.
Despite an official warning from the Chinese foreign ministry that any nation who sends a representative to the Nobel Awards ceremony this 10 December will face “consequences”, Iceland will be sending its Norwegian ambassador, Sigríður Dúna Kristmundsdóttir, to the ceremony. RÚV reports that Urður Gunnarsdóttir said that “there was no question” about the decision.
The Chinese appear to be serious about the matter though. A statement from the foreign ministry warns that nations have a choice to make: either attend the Nobel ceremony or build a friendship with the Chinese people.