China blocks meetings with wife
BEIJING – China blocked European officials from meeting with the wife of the jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner, cut off her phone communication and cancelled meetings with Norwegian officials – acting on its fury over the award today.
As China retaliated, United Nations human rights experts called on Beijing to free imprisoned democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo, who was permitted a brief, tearful meeting with his wife on Sunday. Liu dedicated the award to the “lost souls” of the 1989 military crackdown on student demonstrators.
Liu, a slight 54-year-old literary critic, is in the second year of an 11-year prison term for inciting subversion.
In naming him, the Norwegian-based Nobel committee honoured Liu’s more than two decades of advocacy of human rights and peaceful democratic change – from demonstrations for democracy at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 to a manifesto for political reform that he co-authored in 2008 and which led to his latest jail term.
Beijing had reacted angrily to Friday’s announcement honouring Liu, calling him a criminal and warning Norway’s government that relations would suffer, even though the Nobel committee is an independent organisation. (AP)