China blocks Norwegian website over Nobel Peace Prize

Oslo: Internet users in China have been blocked from accessing the website of Norwegian broadcaster NRK on the eve of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the broadcaster reported Thursday.

Blocking access to NRK’s site was but the latest sign of China’s anger over the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award the 2010 prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

The websites of the BBC and CNN were also impacted, NRK said.

Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for sedition. He was sentenced for co-organizing the Charter ’08 for democratic reform.

China and at least 18 other nations with embassies in Oslo have also declined invitations to attend the ceremony.

Although the five-member Nobel Committee is independent of the Norwegian government, China has also cancelled meetings with Norwegian cabinet members.

China’s delegation at the ongoing UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, has also declined to meet with the Norwegian team headed by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Environment Minister Erik Solheim told the Oslo daily Dagbladet.

Solheim noted that talks with other Norwegian officials on practical issues such as carbon trading systems had been held as planned in Beijing.

Since Liu and other members of his family are unable to attend Friday’s ceremony, the Nobel Committee has said the prize will not presented and the prize money will be set aside in his name.

Since the Oct 8 announcement, the Nobel Institute’s website has been targeted regularly and subjected to various hacker attacks.

A recent example was a false email that appeared to have been sent by committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland to other Nobel Committee members. The email contained a virus, NRK said.

“It is like a daily boxing match,” said Geir Lundestad, director of the Nobel Institute.

“Many of the attacks appear to be really professional,” he added.

The institute was set up in 1904 and assists the Nobel Committee in vetting candidates nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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