The Nobel Peace Prize Committee says it will not hand out the award this year if no close relative of winner Liu Xiaobo is able to travel to Oslo to accept it.
It would be the first time in the 109-year history of the award that there was no presentation ceremony. Three previous winners were unable to come to Oslo but were able to send representatives.
Committee secretary Geir Lundestad said the organization has largely given up hope that anyone close to Liu will be at the December 10 ceremony. The Chinese dissident is serving an 11-year prison term and his wife has been confined to her home since the award was announced.
China has also been keeping a close watch on other dissidents associated with Liu, who was arrested after he co-authored a tract calling for greater democracy in China.
The Beijing government has tried to organize a boycott of the ceremony by world diplomats, but most Western countries plan to attend. The Associated Press quoted Lundestad saying the only countries to decline so far are Russia, Cuba and Kazakhstan.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.