(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department on Wednesday confirmed that its ambassador to Oslo, Barry White, will attend the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on Friday.
China has campaigned for countries to boycott the event and has already received support from 19 countries, including American allies like Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, and Colombia who will not attend. This year's winner is Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, who is currently imprisoned in China for his involvement with Charter 08, a manifesto promoting democratization and political reform in China.
On Wednesday, the State Department refused to criticize those countries publicly. “All we can say is that we will be there on Friday to observe this recognition, and we know that we will not be alone,” spokesperson PJ Crowley told reporters. “Different countries will make up their own minds,” he added when pressed.
“We obviously strongly support the statement that was made by the Nobel committee in selecting Liu Xiaobo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. We think it's well-deserved. We think there absolutely should be a ceremony. We think there absolutely should be recognition. We think that Mr. Liu and his wife should be there to be able to receive, you know, the award,” Crowley said.
When announcing this year's winner, The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that it chose Xiaobo as the 2010 Peace Prize recipient "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." The committee added, "The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China."
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