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Peace Nobel may not be handed out

The Nobel Peace Prize may not be handed out this year because no one from jailed Chinese dissident award-winner Liu Xiaobo's family is likely to attend the ceremony, the award committee has said.

The 10 million kronor (£880,000) award can only be collected by the laureate or close family members.

Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion after co-authoring an appeal calling for reforms to China's one-party political system. His wife has been under house arrest since the award was announced last month.

Norwegian Nobel Committee secretary Geir Lundestad said no other relatives have announced plans to come to Oslo for the December 10 ceremony.

"The way it looks now, it is not likely that someone from his close family will attend," Lundestad said. "Then we will not give out the medal and the diploma during the ceremony."

If that happens it will be the first time since 1936, when there was no one present to accept the medal and diploma for German journalist Carl von Ossietzky, who was seriously ill and refused permission to leave Nazi Germany. However, a representative of Ossietzky received the prize money, Lundestad said.

The Nobel committee has skipped selecting a winner altogether in some years, including during the Second World War.

China has called Liu a criminal and has pressured countries not to send representatives to the ceremony.

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