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China says will not yield to Nobel pressure

Beijing, December 9, 2010

China will not yield to outside  pressure on jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, the  Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, striking a combative tone  the day before the award is due to be formally bestowed.

Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu denounced what she said were "double standards" applied to China's legal system, and  criticised the US House of Representatives for calling on  China to release Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, who is under house  arrest.

China awarded its answer to the Nobel Peace Prize on  Thursday, giving the "Confucius Peace Prize" to former Taiwan  vice-president Lien Chan, though his office said he was  unaware of the award and he did not show up to collect it.

Jiang told a regular news briefing any attempts to  pressure China on Liu, and to "deter China from its  development", would not succeed.

"China urges the relevant US lawmakers to stop the wrong  words and activity on the Liu Xiaobo issue and to change their  arrogant and rude attitude," Jiang said. "They should show  respect to the Chinese people and China's legal sovereignty.”

"The US Congress' so-called resolution distorts the  truth, it is widely meddling in China's internal affairs," she  said.

Liu was jailed last Christmas Day for subversion of state  power and for being the lead author of Charter 08, a manifesto  by intellectuals and activists calling for democratic reform  in the one-party state.

Jiang again defended China's jailing of Liu.

"Liu Xiaobo was not convicted because of his remarks," she  said. "Liu wrote and published inflammatory articles on the  Internet, organising and persuading others to sign it, to stir  up and overthrow China's political authority and social system.”

"Liu's problem is that he has gone beyond general  criticism; it was an act that jeopardised society," Jiang said.

China, which views criticism of its human rights record as  a bid to contain its growing might, has flexed its economic  muscle in drumming up support for a boycott of the Oslo award  ceremony for Liu, jailed for 11 years for subversion.

Most of the 18 states joining the boycott have strong  commercial ties with with China or share its hostility towards  Western human rights pressure.

Vietnam, which also comes in for criticism over its rights  record, defended its decision not to attend the gala.

"The goal of the Nobel Peace Prize is to promote peace and  friendship among people. For that reason, we hope that the  Nobel Peace Prize can be given to deserving organisations and  individuals, and not be used for political goals," said  Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga.

China said the "vast majority" of nations would boycott  the ceremony. The Norwegian award committee says two-thirds of  those invited would attend.

"Western crusade"

In a sign of growing tension with Norway, which China is  angry with because it is home to the Nobel Committee, the  Chinese delegation to UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, has  refused to meet Oslo's team, led by Prime Minister Jens  Stoltenberg and Environment Minister Erik Solheim.     
"They are clearly marking it by not wanting to have  political meetings," Solheim told Norwegian daily Dagbladet in  Cancun.      "There is no doubt that China sees the Peace Prize as a  part of a Western crusade against their form of government,"  Solheim was quoted as saying.

Chinese state-run media accused the West of "launching a  new round of China-bashing".

"Liu has done everything he could to subvert the Chinese  government, and that suits the strategy of some organisations  and people in the West toward China," the official Xinhua news  agency wrote in an English-language commentary on Wednesday.

"That's why some people in the West immediately embraced  the Nobel Committee's decision, launching a new round of  China-bashing," it said. – Reuters




Tags: China | Nobel peace prize | Liu Xiaobo | house arrest |

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