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China Criticizes Awarding of Nobel Prize to Dissident

The Nobel diploma is pictured in Oslo during the ceremony for the Nobel Laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo at the city hall in Oslo, on Dec. 10, 2010.

China has voiced strong opposition to the awarding of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said Beijing is firmly against what she said were attempts to use the Nobel prize to interfere in China's internal affairs and infringe on its judicial sovereignty.

Liu, a democracy activist, received the prize in absentia at a ceremony Friday in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

On Friday, China tightened a clampdown on dissidents and kept close surveillance on Liu's supporters. Authorities increased security in front of the Beijing compound where Liu's wife has been under house arrest since he was named winner of the Nobel prize in October.

Officials also blocked Western news websites, including CNN and the BBC, from trying to broadcast the award ceremony.

China had long been pressing for a global boycott of Friday's ceremony. Eighteen countries, including China, turned down invitations.

China this week referred to Liu's Nobel supporters as "clowns."

Liu participated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing and is one of China's most prominent activists, fighting for greater political freedom and human rights.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.