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'Nobel prize is "China-bashing"'

world Updated: Dec 09, 2010 09:46 IST

Reuters
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Chinese state-run media accused the West of "launching a new round of China-bashing" ahead of Friday's awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.

China has flexed its economic muscle in drumming up support for a boycott of the Oslo award ceremony for Liu, jailed a year ago for 11 years for subversion. Most of the 18 states joining have strong commercial ties with with China or share its hostility towards Western human rights pressure.

"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 late 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 added.

China will award 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.

"Just look at how this year's Peace Prize has caused the world confusion and divisions!" wrote popular tabloid the Global Times, run by Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily.

"All the applause has come from the West and the citizens of the third-world countries are all now China's allies," it said in an editorial.

A number of countries and international human rights organisations have criticised Beijing for its sweeping crackdown on dissent ahead of Friday's ceremony in Oslo, preventing Liu's friends and family from attending.

"The Chinese government should be celebrating this global recognition of a Chinese writer and activist," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general.

"Instead, the government's very public tantrum has generated even more critical attention inside and outside China -- and, ironically, emphasised the significance of Liu Xiaobo's message of respect for human rights," Shetty added.

The US House of Representatives called on China on Wednesday to release Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, who is under house arrest.

"A conspiracy"

Beijing, which views criticism of its human rights record as a bid to contain China's growing might, has pressured diplomats to boycott the ceremony, claiming the "vast majority" of nations would do so. The Norwegian award committee says two-thirds of those invited would attend.

Joining China in staying away also are: Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

Beijing has been briefly blacking out BBC and CNN stories on Liu and his supporters over the past few days, though foreign news channels are generally only available in up-market hotels and apartment buildings where mainly foreigners live.

"The West has shown great creativity in conspiring against China. With its ideology remaining dominant at present, the West has not ceased harassing China with all kinds of tricks like the Nobel Peace Prize," the Global Times wrote.