Beijing denounces Nobel prize as tool

2010-11-05 17:03

Beijing - China stepped up its criticism of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a jailed democracy activist on Friday, saying the prize is a western political tool used to attack a rising China.

The commentary in the People's Daily, the Communist Party's flagship newspaper, comes a day after several diplomats said China was pressuring European governments to avoid next month's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Liu Xiaobo and not make any statements in support of him.

China has reacted with furious condemnation since Liu was given the prize a month ago.

The commentary said the Nobel prize has become wrapped up in ideology since the end of the Cold War and "became a tool for Western countries to impose peaceful evolution on powers which do not meet their standards."

Calling it a political card of the United States and European countries, the commentary said the prize has been used "to impose propaganda pressure, ideological splits and social unrest on socialist countries, including the Soviet Union."

The prize is aimed at China now because of its growing power, the commentary said.

"The repeated bashing since the Nobel prize was awarded reflects the west's extreme fear of the rise of China. ... The west does not wish to see China, a powerful country that has made great success in so many respects, having a political regime which is different from those of the west."

Besides a campaign through state media to denounce Liu, China has stepped up a diplomatic offensive.

Two Western diplomats said the Chinese Embassy in Oslo has sent official letters to a number of European embassies in the Norwegian capital pushing them not to attend the ceremony to take place on December 10.

According to one of the diplomats in Beijing who said he has seen the letter, China cited its repeated position that Liu is a criminal for his advocacy of widespread political reforms and called the prize an interference in China's internal affairs.

The letter also urged embassies not to issue any public statements in support of Liu on the day of the ceremony, he said.

Liu, a writer and outspoken government critic, is serving an 11-year prison term for inciting subversion with Charter 08, a bold call for sweeping political reforms that he co-authored. His wife has been under house arrest since the award was announced in October.

Numerous world leaders, including President Barack Obama, have called for his release.

The pressure on Western governments comes amid a clampdown on Chinese activists, lawyers and NGO groups who have supported Liu. Many have reported frequent police harassment and increased surveillance since the Nobel announcement.