Beijing (UPI) Dec 10, 2010
U.S. legislators should "change their rude and arrogant attitude" toward China over the Nobel Peace Prize issue, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said.
China condemned the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the "convicted Chinese criminal" Liu Xiaobo and more than 100 countries and international organizations support China on the issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular news briefing.
The U.S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 401-1, this week passed a resolution congratulating Liu on winning the Peace Prize.
"The so-called resolution approved by the U.S. House of Representatives disregards facts and distorts truth and is flagrant interference in China's internal affairs. We urge relevant U.S. lawmakers to stop their wrongdoing on this issue, change their arrogant and rude attitude and show due respect for the Chinese people and China's judicial sovereignty," Jiang said.
Her remarks are the latest in a barrage of media comments against the award to Liu who was sentenced in December 2009 to 11 years in prison. A Beijing court convicted him of violating Chinese law and engaging in activities aimed at overthrowing the government.
"Justice lies in the heart of the people," Jiang said. "A vast majority of the international community does not support the Nobel committee's wrong decision and any move by the committee will not change the fact that Liu Xiaobo committed crimes."
The latest count of ambassadorial representatives not going to the Oslo, Norway, award ceremony, is 18 out of 65 invited.
Some have given the reason as supporting China. Some, including Fidel Castro of Cuba -- which won't attend -- said the Nobel committee was making a political point and is downgrading the Peace Prize.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez also criticized this year's award as political, similar to the Nobel Peace Prize for President Barack Obama. "Viva China! And its sovereignty, its independence and its greatness," he recently said in support of China's stance.
Other countries not attending the ceremony are Russia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan and Morocco.
Chinese media have called Liu, 54, a "tool of the West" and the award "a farce." He has been accused of being "paid by foreigners" because of his work for the Democratic China magazine financed by the National Endowment for Democracy, which is funded by the U.S. government.
A report in the China Daily news Web site said Liu boosted to fellow prisoners of his money received from foreigners. He reportedly said, "I'm not like you. I don't lack money. Foreigners pay me every year, even when I'm in prison."
But his political dissent and criticism of China's one-party political system brought him to the attention of pro-democracy groups in the West.
In June 1989, he took part in the student protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square that were brutally suppressed by Chinese security forces. He reportedly helped persuade some protesters not to confront soldiers and so avoid violent clashes.
The number of people killed in the clashes varies greatly. Official Chinese government figures are 241 dead, including soldiers, and 7,000 people wounded. But various sources suggest the dead are in the thousands, including an estimate of up to 6,000 stated by Edward Timperlake in his 1999 book "Red Dragon Rising."
The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited Liu's participation in the Tiananmen protests as an example of his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."
However, Liu was jailed for two years for his participation in the protests.
He further fell afoul of Chinese authorities in late 2008 when he was one of the dissidents who drafted Charter 08 that called for more democracy and a new Chinese constitution. Charter 08 was backed by more than 300 prominent people including academics, artists and lawyers.
But in a crackdown on the participants, police raided Liu's home and arrested him.
In October this year, soon after the official announcement of Liu's Nobel award, police placed his wife, Liu Xia, under house arrest with little contact with the outside world.
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London (AFP) Dec 10, 2010
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