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China Rejects International Concern for Jailed Dissident

The Chinese government is rejecting international concerns over jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo and calls for his immediate release, saying the case is strictly an internal affair of China.

When asked about jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the case is being handled according to Chinese law and is no one else's business.

Qin says China is a country ruled by law and that judicial authorities handle the case independently. He says how this case will be handled is entirely China's internal affair.

International human rights groups have decried the arrest of 53-year-old Liu, an outspoken former professor who most recently helped draft and revise Charter 08. The manifesto calls for political reform and a new Chinese constitution that guarantees human rights.

The expressions of concern included a statement by the PEN American Center, which is part of an international network that seeks to encourage cooperation among writers and promote freedom of speech. Liu is a past president and current board member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.

Chinese authorities have charged Liu with agitation activities aimed at subverting the state and overthrowing the socialist system.

Earlier in the day, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Richard Buangan, said Washington is "deeply disturbed" by reports of Liu's arrest.

"We call on the government of China to release Mr. Liu and respect the rights of all Chinese citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedoms," he said.

Chinese police took Liu into custody in December, one day before the public release of Charter 08. The document was originally signed by more than 300 people. That number has now grown to nearly 9,000 Chinese.

Liu has long campaigned for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in China. He was previously jailed for his involvement in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests that were violently crushed by the Chinese military.