At least 19 governments, including China, will skip the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony this week, at which the prize will be awarded to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Many of the other absentees are either trading partners or otherwise allied with China. They include: Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco. Another 44 countries are expected to attend, while Algeria and Sri Lanka have yet to RSVP. The declined invites may be the result of China’s pressure to boycott the ceremony because of the Nobel committee’s choice of Liu, who is serving an 11-year sentence for his writings and a manifesto he helped pen called Charter 08, which calls for democratic reforms. “China has been arm-twisting behind the scenes to stop governments from attending the Nobel prize ceremony, using a combination of political pressure and economic blackmail,” said Sam Zarifi of Amnesty International.