BEIJING, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The Chinese government canceled another meeting with Nobel Prize officials, saying the award to one of its dissidents is a ploy to change its political system.
"Some politicians from other countries are trying to use this opportunity to attack China," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said. He added that the prize, announced Friday, "shows disrespect for China's judicial system" because the recipient is a convicted criminal, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
In December a Beijing court sentenced pro-democracy advocate, Liu Xiaobo, 54, to 11 years in jail for a manifesto he helped draft, Charter '08, calling for political reform, human rights guarantees and an independent judicial system.
Charter '08, signed electronically by thousands of intellectuals, students and former Communist Party officials, has been blocked on the Internet and is mostly unknown to the Chinese people, the Times says.
Liu's wife is under house arrest at the couple's Beijing apartment and it is unclear whether she would even be able to appear in Oslo to collect the peace prize in his stead in December.
"I am not allowed to meet the press or friends," Liu Xia said via borrowed cellphone before it was turned off and she could not be reached for further comment.
News of the canceled meetings was not reported by the Chinese news media, which has effectively removed any mention of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, the Times said.