December 26, 2009 / 1:49 PM / 9 years ago

France berates China over sentencing of dissident

Protestors hold placards during a protest urging for Liu Xiaobo's release outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong December 25, 2009. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

PARIS (Reuters) - France chastised China on Saturday for jailing dissident Liu Xiaobo and reminded Beijing of its commitments to dialogue on human rights with the European Union.

Liu, China’s most prominent dissident, was jailed on Friday for 11 years for campaigning for political freedoms, with the stiff sentence on a subversion charge swiftly condemned by rights groups and Washington.

“France, attached to the respect for freedom of expression throughout the world, reminds the Chinese authorities of their commitments in the scope of dialogue on human rights with the European Union,” France’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Liu, who turns 54 on Monday, helped organize the “Charter 08” petition which called for sweeping political reforms, and before that was prominent in the 1989 pro-democracy protests centered on Tiananmen Square that were crushed by armed troops.

“(Liu’s) resolute acts in support of respect for human rights and freedom of expression play an essential role in promoting democratic values in China,” France’s foreign ministry said. (Reporting by Sophie Taylor; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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