|Liu Xiaobo was jailed in 2009 for 11 years on “subversion” charges [Reuters]|
The Chinese government has said it will not yield to international pressure on jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, striking a combative tone the day before the award is due to be formally bestowed.
Jiang Yu, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, said on Thursday that there were “double standards” applied to China’s legal system, and criticised the US politicians for calling on China to release Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, who is under house arrest.
China awarded its answer to the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, giving the “Confucius Peace Prize” to Lien Chan, the former Taiwanese vice-president at a ceremony in Beijing. But his office said he was unaware of the award and he did not show up to collect it.
Jiang also told a news conference that any attempts to pressure China on Liu, and to “deter China from its development” would not succeed.
“China urges the relevant US lawmakers to stop the wrong words and activity on the Liu Xiaobo issue and to change their arrogant and rude attitude,” Jiang said.
“They should show respect to the Chinese people and China’s legal sovereignty. The U.S. Congress’ so-called resolution distorts the truth, it is widely meddling in China’s internal affairs.”
Organisers of the Confucius Peace Prize named Lien Chan, for his efforts at building peace between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
The prize is intended to give the Chinese “viewpoint of peace”. The awards committee said Lien, the honorary chairman of Taiwan’s Nationalist Party, was selected from eight nominees.
The announcement comes a day ahead of the Oslo-based Nobel committee holding its ceremony to honour Liu Xiaobo.
Eighteen other countries besides China have declined to attend this year’s ceremony, Nobel officials said on Tuesday.
Countries that have turned down an invitation to Friday’s ceremony include allies Pakistan, Venezuela and Cuba; neighbors such as Russia, the Philippines and Kazakhstan; and business partners such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Other countries not appearing at the Oslo City Hall ceremony include Ukraine, Colombia, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Serbia and Morocco.
But at least 44 of the 65 embassies that were invited have accepted the invitation, the prize committee said.
Earlier this week, Jiang referred to the members of the committee as “clowns” and accused them of “orchestrating an anti-China fuss”.
Liu, 54, was jailed in December 2009 for 11 years on subversion charges after co-authoring Charter 08, a bold petition calling for reform in one-party Communist-ruled China.
No one is expected to be on hand to accept the award on behalf of Liu, who was named as the winner in October in recognition of “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”.
His wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest since that time, other family members are under pressure not to speak publicly and many of Liu’s fellow dissidents and supporters have been warned not to attend or have been physically prevented from leaving China.