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China warns against Nobel prize for leading dissident
February 2, 2010 / 8:57 AM / 8 years ago

China warns against Nobel prize for leading dissident

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Foreign Ministry warned on Tuesday against giving a Nobel Peace Prize to leading jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, a nomination made by the U.S. chapter of rights group International Pen.

Demonstrators hold pictures of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo during a protest in Hong Kong October 23, 2009. China's Foreign Ministry warned on Tuesday against giving a Nobel Peace Prize to leading jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, a nomination made by the U.S. chapter of rights group International Pen. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/Files

A Chinese court jailed Liu, a prominent critic of Communist Party rule, for 11 years on Christmas Day on a subversion charge after he co-authored Charter 08, a petition calling for broad political and democratic reforms.

Pen American Centre president Kwame Anthony Appiah last week sent a nomination for Liu to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, noting his “distinguished and principled leadership in the area of human and political rights and freedom of expression”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said it would be a mistake to give Liu such an award.

“If the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to such a person, it is obvious that it is totally wrong,” Ma told a regular news briefing in Beijing, without elaborating.

Liu is a member of the Chinese chapter of Pen, which campaigns for freedom of expression.

“Honouring [Liu] with the Nobel Peace Prize would be a powerful way to underscore the fact that the rights that are enshrined in international human rights law -- values that China has acknowledged and endorsed -- are the non-negotiable entitlements of every man and woman,” Appiah said in a statement.

The group said the nomination letter had been signed by other Pen members and well-known authors, including Salman Rushdie, Philip Roth and Ha Jin.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Huang Yan; Editing by David Fox

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