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China pushing Norway for Nobel guarantee

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China pushing Norway for Nobel guarantee
The Dalai Lama writes his name in the guestbook at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo in 2005. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/SCANPIX
11:00 CEST+02:00
China is pressuring Norway's government to guarantee never to congratulate a Chinese dissident who wins the Nobel Peace Prize, the country's NRK news channel has reported.
According to the channel, the refusal of Norway's government to meet the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, when he visits the country this week, has not been enough to normalize relations between the two countries. 
 
It cites Cui Hongjian, a professor at the China Institute of International Studies, a think tank close to the authorities, who says that Norway must also promise not to celebrate opponents of the Chinese government. 
 
"If Norway is not able to make such a promise, it would be difficult for China to believe that Norway is serious when it says it wants to improve its relationship with China," he told the channel. 
 
Norway's government has been widely criticized for its decision not to meet the Dalai Lama, with the Tibetan figurehead's European representative last week warning that Norway's unwillingness to stand up to Chinese pressure would make other countries more likely to follow suit. 
 
China has frozen Norway out diplomatically ever since The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which is theoretically independent of the country's government, awarded the Nobel Prize to  Liu Xiaobo, a prominent Chinese dissident, in 2010. 
 
As a result, Norwegian businesses have struggled in China, with Norwegian salmon exporters in particular finding their goods struggle to get customs clearance. 
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