Asia-Pacific

Chinese anger continues over Nobel award to dissident

Liu Xiaobo - 28 Oct 2008
Image caption Liu Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years in December 2009

Norway says China has cancelled a ministerial meeting apparently in response to the award of the Nobel peace prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Norway's Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen is visiting the Shanghai Expo and was due to meet her Chinese counterparts on Wednesday.

A ministry spokesman said a reason for the cancellation was not given.

Earlier, the Dalai Lama criticised China's opposition to the latest award.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, and former Nobel peace laureate, said the Chinese government did "not appreciate different opinions".

Building an open society was "the only way to save all people of China", he told Japanese media while passing through Tokyo's airport on his way to the US.

Simmering row

Beijing had warned when the award was announced that it would damage relations between China and Norway - even though the Nobel committee is an independent organisation.

Ragnhild Imerslund, a spokeswoman for Norway's Foreign Ministry, said: "If the meeting has been cancelled due to the Peace Prize, we find that to be an unnecessary reaction from China."

State newspapers on Monday said the award merely reflected the West's fear of China's rising wealth and standing.

Liu Xiaobo was a key figure in the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The 54-year-old was also involved in drafting Charter 08 two years ago - a document which called for multi-party democracy and respect for human rights in China.

In 2009 he was jailed for 11 years for "inciting subversion".

Communications cut

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Media captionBefore her apparent detention Liu Xia spoke to the BBC about her husband

On Sunday Mr Liu was allowed a brief meeting with his wife, Liu Xia. He dedicated the award to the "lost souls" of the 1989 military crackdown on student demonstrators in Tiananmen.

But apart from that brief outing, Liu Xia herself is reported to be effectively under house arrest.

Freedom Now, a US group, said Liu had not been able to leave her home since visiting her husband in jail on Sunday.

Journalists outside her home have not been allowed to speak to her, and a group of European diplomats who went to visit were prevented from entering her apartment complex.

Liu Xia has said via Twitter that she has been unable to make phone calls, as her phone appears to have been cut off.

There are also reports that more political activists in Beijing have had their movements restricted, including Zhou Duo, who was with Mr Liu during the Tiananmen Square protests.

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