10 Dec 2010

Peace prize not attempt to enforce western values - committee

9:08 am on 10 December 2010

The Norwegian Nobel committee says giving this year's Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is not attempt to enforce western values in China.

Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said on Thursday the award to Liu Xiaobo was about universal human rights and "honouring people in China".

Beijing has said nations which attend Friday's award ceremony in Oslo will be showing disrespect to China.

At least 18 nations are set to boycott the ceremony.

The BBC reports Liu Xiaobo, 54, was a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

Last year he received a prison sentence of 11 years for "inciting subversion" and will not be in Oslo.

The Nobel Foundation has praised Mr Liu for his "long and non-violent struggle".

Mr Jagland insisted the award was "not a prize against China. This is a prize honouring people in China".

"This is not a protest, it is a signal to China that it would be very important for China's future to combine economic development with political reforms and support for those in China fighting for basic human rights," he said.

"This prize conveys the understanding that these are universal rights and universal values, they are not Western standards."