Chinese media flays Nobel for jailed dissident, shifts wife

The Chinese media slammed the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed human rights dissident Liu Xiaobo as an attempt to disintegrate the country.

Last Updated: Oct 09, 2010, 20:55 PM IST

Beijing: The Chinese media today slammed
the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed human
rights dissident Liu Xiaobo as an attempt to disintegrate the
country, with police reportedly shifting his wife to prevent
her from being a centre of global media attention.

The Nobel Prize to a dissident "naturally generates
animosity among many Chinese against the award," said `Global
Times`, the only English language newspaper to carry an
editorial on the award to Liu.

Terming the award to the 54-year-old Liu, who is
serving an 11 year jail sentence for his advocacy for
democracy and human rights in China, as a "disgrace", the
newspaper said the Nobel Committee "once again displayed its
arrogance and prejudice against a country that has made the
most remarkable economic and social progress in the past three
decades."

It denounced the award for the jailed dissident Liu as
an attempt to create an ideological rift in China to trigger a
collapse like former Soviet Union.

Most of the other official newspapers published only
the Chinese Foreign Ministry`s reaction, which condemned the
Nobel Committee for honouring a "criminal".

"They (Chinese) have reason to question whether the
Nobel Peace Prize has been degraded to a political tool that
serves an anti-China purpose. It seems that instead of peace
and unity in China, the Nobel committee would like to see the
country split by an ideological rift, or better yet, collapse
like the Soviet Union," the Global Times said.

Meanwhile Liu Xia, the wife of world`s newest Nobel
Peace Prize winner, told foreign media last night that she was
being pressured to leave the city and go to Jinzhou, the
northeastern Chinese city where her husband is imprisoned.

She was quoted by the US-based Radio Free Asia as
saying that police officials "are sitting there waiting for me
to get my things together".

They promised to take her to Jinzhou. But Liu Xia
said she was worried that she may be kept under house arrest.
She was presumed to have been shifted as she was not reachable
here on the phone by foreign media.

Yesterday Liu Xia held the fort for her incarcerated
husband expressing her gratitude on behalf of her husband to
the Nobel committee, those who nominated Liu and those who
have been supporting Liu since 1989, including mothers whose
children were killed in the military crackdown.

"The prize should belong to all who signed Charter 08
and were jailed due to their support," she said.

Liu Xia is expected to visit him in prison tomorrow
and inform him of the the news of his award, a family member
was quoted as saying by a news agency.

Police kept reporters away from the prison where
jailed democracy campaigner is serving an 11-year sentence for
subversion, and the mobile phone of his wife was cut off.

One of Liu Xiaobo`s brothers, Liu Xiaoxuan, was quoted
a saying that the prison meeting would be tomorrow, citing
information from Liu Xia`s mother. Highlighting the "anti-China purpose" of the award,

Global Times said in the last century the prize was awarded
several times to pro-West advocates in the former Soviet
Union, including Mikhail Gorbachev, whose efforts directly led
to the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

"The Western preference of the Nobel committee did not
disappear with the end of the Cold War. The committee
continues to deny China`s development by making paranoid
choices," the English daily noted.

It also raised the issue of Nobel Prize for the Dalai
Lama.

"In 1989, the Dalai Lama, a separatist, won the prize.
Liu Xiaobo, the new winner, wants to copy Western political
systems in China. There are many different perspectives to
view these two people, but neither of the two are among those
who made constructive contributions to China`s peace and
growth in recent decades," it said.

It also highlighted that other Chinese dissidents,
such as exiled leader of Muslim Uyghur community in China`s
Xinjiang province and another prominent dissident Hu Jia, were
"reportedly on the shortlist for the peace prize this year".

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who was on a tour of
Turkey yesterday, declined to take questions from journalists
at a news conference in Ankara after the honour was announced.
Though there is virtual blackout of the news of Liu’s
Nobel Prize in mainland China by the official media,
mainstream media in Hong Kong carried the news prominently.

Liu`s 11-year sentence is believed to be one of the
longest handed down on the mainland in a freedom-of-expression
case.

Human rights activists have deplored his imprisonment,
with Amnesty International calling it a "stark reminder" that
China does not tolerate free speech, the South China Morning
Post reported.

The highly educated Liu has been a visiting scholar at
several universities overseas, including Columbia University
in New York and the University of Oslo. But it is Charter 08
that has made him world-renowned and left him imprisoned, it
said.

The newspaper also recalled Wen`s comments on
democracy in his interview to Indian origin US journalist,
Fareed Zakaria, stating that he remained committed to pressing
for changes to China`s political system.

"The people`s wishes for, and need for, democracy and
freedom are irresistible," the prime minister said.
He said let every one lead a happy life with dignity.

He underlined the need for every one to feel safe and
secure and "let the society be one with equity and justice
until everyone has confidence in future in spite of the
various discussions and views in society”.

Wen said in spite of some resistance "I will act in
accordance with these ideals unswervingly and advance within
the realm of my capabilities political restructuring", making
many wonder whether he was making a case for ushering
democracy in the country.

PTI