Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran are among those that will be absent, while 44 countries will attend.If its senior human rights official won't attend to honor a man sitting in prison because he has called for China to respect fundamental human rights, then the UN has revealed itself to be the joke on protecting human rights that so many have said it to be.
A Chinese official said a "vast majority" of countries would stay away.
China would not change because of "interference by a few clowns", said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.
The committee describes Mr Liu as "the foremost symbol" of the human rights struggle in China.
It said in a statement that the envoys of Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco would miss the event "for various reasons".
"Some have obviously been influenced by China, for others this has nothing to do with China," the committee's secretary, Geir Lundestad, told the BBC.
The committee said that two more countries, Sri Lanka and Algeria, had not replied, and 44 would attend.
The United Nations' most senior human rights official, Navi Pillay, has been criticised for saying she will not attend.
Meanwhile, Liu Xiaobo joins the ranks of other victims of tyranny who could not attend the Nobel ceremony. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest in Burma and could not attend. Lech Walesa was afraid that, if he attended, he would not be allowed to return to Poland and so sent his wife and son in his stead. Andrei Sakharov was prevented by Soviet authorities from traveling to Oslo and his wife went instead. The German journalist and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky was in prison in Germany in 1935 when he won and died in 1938 after having spent the time in prison and in a hospital under surveillance. Liu Xiaobo's wife is under house arrest and so won't be able to do what Yelena Bonner could do for her husband, Andrei Sakharov, by traveling to Oslo and reminding the world of what her husband stood for. Instead, there will be an empty chair on the stage and 20 empty chairs in the audience.
If the Nobel Peace Prize committee needs ideas for whom to award the Prize to next, look to those imprisoned by those 19 countries that are refusing to attend this year's ceremony. Chances are that there are human rights victims in those countries whose causes should be championed by any organization out to promote human rights.