World News

Norway protests to China over Nobel reaction

OSLO (Reuters) - The Norwegian foreign minister said on Friday he had protested to the Chinese ambassador about Beijing’s angry reaction to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said that at a meeting with ambassador Tang Guaqiang he protested over Liu’s imprisonment and discussed China’s cancellation of bilateral meetings since the award, which China called an “obscenity.”

“I expressed regret over the reactions we have seen from China over the last week,” Stoere said in a statement sent to Reuters. “I also said that it is China that must bear responsibility for its decisions.”

Earlier this week China called off bilateral meetings with the Norwegian fisheries minister and with senior civil servants, although lower level contacts were continuing.

Stoere said he repeated Norway’s request that Liu be released from prison, where he is serving an 11-year sentence for writing a manifesto calling for free speech, and to lift the restrictions on his wife, Liu Xia.

Liu Xia has been held under virtual house asset since the prize was announced in Oslo.

The Chinese embassy in Oslo was not available for comment.

Writing by Gwladys Fouche