China blocks rights lawyer from meeting Merkel

February 3, 2012 10:21

BEIJING - Chinese police blocked a prominent human rights lawyer from attending a Beijing dinner hosted by German leader Angela Merkel, the lawyer said on Friday, the latest example of restrictions on unorthodox views in a sensitive year.

German diplomats from the embassy in Beijing had early on Thursday invited Mo Shaoping to a dinner with Merkel, who is in China on a three-day visit, to discuss the Chinese legal system and issues facing lawyers, Mo told Reuters by telephone.

The incident could focus renewed attention on human rights in China. Merkel told reporters on Thursday she had "a frank dialogue" with Chinese leaders on human rights.

But state security officers told Mo he was not allowed to meet Merkel on Thursday night, citing "orders from leaders above" but without providing any legal evidence, Mo said.

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