Beijing lobbies media in HK over Liu Xiaobo

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 November, 2010, 12:00am

Beijing has stepped up its campaign in Hong Kong against the Nobel Peace Prize Committee's decision to give this year's award to mainland dissident Liu Xiaobo .

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' commissioner office in Hong Kong yesterday sent a collection of recent state media commentaries on the Nobel committee and Liu to Hong Kong media 'for their reference'.

The articles included a Guangming Daily commentary titled 'Alert on Democratic Fundamentalism', criticising the West for its insistence on pushing for multi-party democracy in developing countries. It said awarding the prize to Liu showed it was being used as a political tool, and demonstrated that the West was trying to force others to accept Western-style democracy.

The foreign ministry also attached a commentary from the People's Daily titled 'A Peace Prize Against the Will of Nobel' and several other articles carried by Global Times, including attacks on Liu's integrity.

Mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong is sympathetic towards Liu and in favour of awarding him the peace prize. The central government's liaison office and the foreign ministry's office in Hong Kong previously maintained a low profile on the issue.

A group of Legislative Council members will attend the peace prize award ceremony in Oslo next month, but a resolution calling for Liu's release failed to pass in Legco.

Pan-democrat legislators also signed a joint letter to President Hu Jintao , urging the central government to free Liu, so that he could travel to Norway to receive his prize. There have been demonstrations at the liaison office urging Liu's release.

Beijing warned foreign nations not to attend the ceremony. According to diplomats, the ambassador to Norway wrote to Western missions implicitly warning them against attending.