11/25/2010, 00.00
CHINA

Arrests and control: only one activist in Oslo for Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel

The Nobel Committee has reserved 30 to 50 seats for friends of Liu, but has so far secured only the presence of Wan Yanhai, who fled to America last May. Prof. He Guanghui, a professor at Renmin, was detained at Beijing airport. Zhang Zuhua, Bao Tong, Ding Zilin all under house arrest.

Oslo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Only one Chinese dissident will be present at the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony for Liu Xiaobo. The wife of writer and activist, Liu Xia, had compiled a list of 140 persons to be invited to Oslo on December 10, but the Chinese government has blocked them under house arrest or threatened them into not making gestures "against the country's security".

The only one of who will be able to participate is Wan Yanhai, who fled to the U.S. last May, after suffering growing difficulties for his work in defence of victims of AIDS. Liu Xia had drawn up and posted on the internet a list of 140 people. Police are carefully stopping the potential participants one by one. On 19 November, Professor. He Guanghui, of Renmin University, leaving for Singapore, where he attended an international meeting on religion, was apprehended at the airport on his return to the city. Why? The academic, an expert on world religions could "damage state security" by being abroad.

30 to 50 seats have been reserved for friends of Liu Xiaobo in the great hall of ceremonies in Oslo, but it is likely that they will remain almost entirely empty. Neither Liu nor any of his relatives seem to have the opportunity to go to Oslo to receive the award, which includes a gift of 1.4 million U.S. dollars.

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo has angered Beijing which considers the writer "a criminal”, sentenced to 11 years in prison for "subversion of state power "for publishing some articles on the Internet on democracy and having drafted the manifesto Charter 08, which urges China to launch democratic political reforms to ensure a balanced and comprehensive development of the nation. Chinese media - all controlled by the State - judge the award as the West’s way of punishing China for its economic success.

Since October last year, the announcement of the prize for Liu, dozens of activists have been detained and deprived of their right to travel. Others are under house arrest. Among them are Zhang Zuhua, who helped write Charter 08, statesman Bao Tong, Professor Ding Zilin, leader of the "Tiananmen Mothers", who are calling for justice for youth killed in the massacre of June 4, 1989.

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