Norway, China row develops over Nobel Peace Prize selection

October 11, 2010 16:18
1 minute read.

BEIJING — Norway said Monday that China  has called off a meeting with the Norwegian fisheries minister just days after Beijing warned that the Nobel Peace Prize award to a jailed Chinese dissident would harm relations between the countries.

The move was announced a day after Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned democracy campaigner, was allowed a brief, tearful meeting with his wife, during which he 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.

Beijing had reacted angrily to Friday's announcement honoring Liu, calling him a criminal and warning Norway's government that relations would suffer, even though the Nobel committee is an independent organization.

The Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen arrived in China on Monday for a weeklong visit to the World Expo in Shanghai, said the Norwegian ministry's spokesman Magnus Hodne.

Berg-Hansen was supposed to meet with China's vice minister for fisheries on Wednesday but the Chinese canceled the meeting, Hodne said, adding he did not know the reason.

In naming him, the Norwegian-based Nobel committee honored 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.

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