News / Asia

China Bans Rights Lawyers From Travel China

China has prevented a high-profile human rights lawyer from leaving the country. Mo Shaoping, whose law firm represents jailed Nobel Peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo, was trying to travel to an international legal conference in London when police officers stopped him and a colleague from boarding their plane.

Mo Shaoping says police officers flashed their badges as he and colleague were about to board their plane from Beijing, Tuesday.

He says the officers gave only vague reasons for stopping him from leaving the country.

Mo says he was not given a concrete reason for the travel ban, but the officers claimed he and his colleague might harm the country's security, if they left the country.

He says the authorities believed he was going to travel from Great Britain on to Norway for the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony next month and pick up the accolade for his client, Liu.

But he says he only had a visa for Britain and had arranged the legal conference trip months ago. He says he was not planning on traveling to Norway.

Mo was traveling with activist law professor He Weifang, who was also banned from leaving the country.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei refused to say why Mo had been banned from leaving the country

Hong says the Chinese government's position on the Nobel Committee's decision to give Liu Xiaobo the peace prize is clear.

And, he says the Chinese government highly respects and protects human rights which, he says, continue to improve.

Hong says, during 30 years of reforms, the Chinese economy has developed, while democracy and culture have also improved.

He says freedom and rights for all Chinese have a full guarantee.

As Mo was being prevented from traveling, British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived at the airport on a three-day trade visit to China.

He is under pressure to raise the case of Liu, who was jailed for 11 years after signing a charter calling political reforms.

Chinese officials are livid at the Nobel award and have warned many countries not to attend the Nobel award ceremony on December 10. China says, if they do so, they will have to suffer the consequences.

Chinese authorities have placed scores of human rights lawyers and dissidents - including Liu's wife - under house arrest to also stop them from traveling to Norway for the prize ceremony.

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