Nobel artists defy China’s threats

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The director of the Nobel Institute in Oslo is applauding the artists who’ve signed on to perform at this year’s Nobel Concert. They’re taking a professional risk, he says, since Chinese authorities have warned of “consequences” for anyone participating in Peace Prize events.

Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/starmaxinc.com 2010  11/10/10 Denzel Washington at the Princess Grace Awards Gala. (NYC) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Geir Lundestad, who also serves as secretary to the Norwegian Nobel Committee that awarded this year’s Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, called the performers’ decision to appear “quite heroic,” when the Chinese have made their opposition “so clear.”

Lundestad said “it can’t be ruled out” that the Chinese will mount boycotts against the performers, or cause problems for them if they want to appear in China. “We’ll have to wait and see what this might mean, for example, for Denzel Washington’s films in China,” Lundestad told newspaper Aftenposten over the weekend.

Washington (photo) will co-host the Nobel Concert along with American actress Anne Hathaway. The concert is traditionally held at the Oslo Spektrum arena on December 11, the day after the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on December 10, and broadcast live in Norway, with television rights sold internationally.

Other performers at this year’s concert include jazz musician Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, Barry Manilow, Sivert Høyem and Florence and the Machine. The concert will be attended by King Harald V and Queen Sonja but probably not by the prize winner who’s being honored: Liu remains in prison in China and none of his family members are being allowed to travel to Oslo either.

It was announced last week that the Nobel Committee, for the first time ever, probably won’t be able to hand over the prize to the winner or the winner’s representative, but it will be held in safe keeping until it can be formally awarded.

Views and News staff