China cracks down to ensure Nobel Prize no-show

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The Independent Online

China continued its sweeping crackdown on dissent yesterday, to make sure that no one from the country will attend the ceremony in Oslo tomorrow at which the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Liu is serving an 11-year prison term for subversion. His wife, Liu Xia, is under house arrest. Even family members of little-known dissidents have been prevented from leaving China.

Lu Yuegang, who lost his job in 2006 at the China Youth Daily after a supplement was banned over provocative content, said his wife was stopped from travelling to Hong Kong. "It's probably to do with the Liu Xiaobo issue," Mr Lu said.

About 150 Chinese pro-democracy activists living outside mainland China and several Hong Kong residents were due to travel to Oslo for the ceremony.

"Sadly, nobody from China will witness this celebration," Yang Jianli, a US-based dissident and friend of Mr Liu said. "The government made people disappear and nobody is allowed to leave."

Beijing has pressured diplomats to boycott the ceremony, claiming the "vast majority" of nations would do so.