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France defies China, will attend Nobel ceremony

From Saskya Vandoorne, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Liu Xiaobo, a pro-democracy activist, won the Nobel Peace Prize this year
  • China considers him a criminal
  • He's serving an 11-year sentence for inciting subversion of state power

Paris, France (CNN) -- France will attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway, this year, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, despite pressure from China not to honor the Chinese dissident who won it.

"France has always been represented by its embassy in Norway every year for this ceremony. This tradition will remain the same this year," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.

Beijing was furious that this year's prize went to jailed democracy activist Liu Xiaobo.

Liu, who co-authored Charter 08, a petition calling for political reform, is serving an 11-year sentence for inciting subversion of state power.

Police in Guangzhou did not respond to requests for comment. The Chinese government has condemned the Nobel committee for honoring Liu, calling him a criminal.

After Liu's win, Chinese police briefly detained or put under house arrest several Liu supporters and other activists, including his wife, Liu Xia, the China Human Rights Defender said.

In naming Liu as the 2010 winner, the Nobel Committee said: "Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal. The country now has the world's second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Scope for political participation has also broadened. China's new status must entail increased responsibility."