China Ramps Up Security Ahead Of Nobel Award

China has stepped up security at key locations in Beijing and maintained a clampdown on contacts of jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo before a ceremony in Oslo awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize.

(ITN)

Significant absence: Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman, Thorbjoern Jagland, sits next to an empty chair that should have been occupied by Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, whose picture adorns the wall

China has stepped up security at key locations in Beijing and maintained a clampdown on contacts of jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo before a ceremony in Oslo awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Official newspapers said the decision to award the prize to Liu, sentenced last December to 11 years jail for subversion, marked an attempt to impose foreign values on China.

"Today in Norway's Oslo, there will be a farce staged: 'The Trial of China'," the popular Global Times, run by the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily, said in an editorial.

Access to international news sites also appeared to be restricted. Beijing, exercising a political influence growing with its economic power, has pressed countries to stay away from the ceremony honouring a man closely involved in the 1989 "Tiananmen" protests that challenged Communist Party power.

'China on trial': Dignatories attend the Peace Prize ceremony which Beijing derided as a farce and lobbied intensively for allies to avoid - 16 other countries failed to send diplomats

The former literature professor's wife has said that her husband wants to dedicate the prize to those who died when troops crushed the protest, killing, according to witnesses and rights groups, hundreds or thousands of people. Beijing has never given numbers for casualties in the action.

Greater numbers of police vehicles and officers patrolled key points in Beijing, including Tiananmen Square.

Security was also tight around Liu's apartment, where Liu's wife is believed to be under house arrest, and the Norwegian embassy. Police turned away a group of German diplomats who tried to visit her.