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China denounces Nobel Peace Prize again

posted 10 Dec 2010, 09:04 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 10 Dec 2010, 09:06 ]

China denounces the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo and tightens security in Beijing as the award ceremony begins, while supporters abroad congratulate the former literature professor.

BEIJING, CHINA (DECEMBER 10, 2010) REUTERS - Beijing's central Tiananmen Square, the site of the 1989 military crackdown in which jailed Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo (pron: Liew seeaow-bwoh) joined pro-democracy hunger strikers, stood quiet at 1200gmt Friday (December 10), as China labelled the

award ceremony taking place in Oslo a "political farce".

China again denounced on Friday the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu, saying it did not represent the majority of the world, especially not developing nations. It has repeatedly slammed the recognition of a man it calls a criminal.

Beijing security forces took no chances at the apartment complex where Liu's wife, Liu Xia (pron: liew seeah), was believed to be under house arrest, keeping a close watch out for signs of unrest.

Corrugated iron walls had been built on either side of the gate and on the opposite side of the road, apparently to remove all space for people to stand near the gate.

Official Chinese newspapers said the decision to award the prize to Liu, sentenced last December to 11 years jail for "subversion of state power", marked an attempt to impose foreign values on China.

China's media censors cut the signal of foreign channels broadcasting the event, plunging the screen into black.

The BBC said its English-language website appeared to have been blocked in several areas of China, for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Access to other international news sites such as CNN also appeared to be restricted.

Beijing, exercising a political influence growing with its economic power, has pressed countries to stay away from the ceremony honouring a man closely involved in the 1989 "Tiananmen" protests that challenged Communist Party power.

The former literature professor's wife had told Reuters that her husband wanted to dedicate the prize to those who died when troops crushed the protest, killing, according to witnesses and rights groups, hundreds or thousands of people. Beijing has never given numbers for casualties in the action.

Supporters abroad celebrated Liu's prize.

Wang Dan, a student leader in the 1989 demonstrations no living in exile, said at human rights conference in his home of Taiwan that he hoped the award would trigger discussion in politically sensitive China.

"In the current situation, if we look at the students and the intellectuals, Liu Xiaobo's award recognition has stirred up more discussion on democracy, this effect has been apparent. On the other hand, China's human rights issues are again brought back to the spotlight in the international community. At the same time, the continuous signing of Charter 08 shows the growth of democratic power in China. The civil society is reforming. From these three perspectives, the award should promote democratic progress," said the 41-year-old.

Wang said he had received an invitation to attend the Nobel Peace award ceremony but was not able to attend.

Wang felt that the awarding of the prize to Liu would highlight China's human rights record.

"I don't think there will be much effect, but it proves that although China has progressed economically, it has not progressed politically at all. All the means of control, such as hiding the truth, still remain. All that have been said about China's political improvement now seem like misunderstandings," he said.

China jailed Liu last Christmas after he co-authored 'Charter 08', a manifesto calling for democratic reform in the one-party state.

The Nobel committee decided to represent the laureate with an empty chair during the ceremony, in what it said was a symbol of Chinese policy to isolate and repress dissidents.