China cracks down on Liu Xiaobo's supporters ahead of Nobel peace prize ceremony

London, Dec 10 (ANI): China has prevented supporters of jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo from travelling abroad just a day ahead of Nobel peace prize ceremony in his honour.

Beijing is furious at the decision to award the prize to Liu, who is serving 11 years for co-authoring Charter 08, a bold call for democratic reforms.

According to the Guardian, around hundreds of people have been placed under house arrest or surveillance, had communications cut off and been forced to leave the capital or prevented from travelling abroad.

Amnesty International said it believed that over 250 people have been affected by the move.

The paper quoted Nicholas Bequelin, the Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, as saying that the "scale and intensity are unprecedented."

"It is an attempt to prevent any voice supporting this prize coming from China," he added.

However human rights activist Zhang Zuhua, another Charter 08 drafter who has been in "soft detention" and had communications cut off on Tuesday, issued a statement defending the document and Liu.

"We must not slacken in our fight against tyranny ... as long as there is slavery, dictatorship and political persecution, we will never stop fighting," he added.

A detailed record compiled by Chinese activists said that a number people were detained for celebrating on the night of the announcement of the Nobel prize two months back. Three of them were then sentenced to eight days' detention.

Others were detained, though later released, for distributing leaflets about the jailed winner.

Liu's wife was under house arrest before the announcement and had all communications cut off shortly after telling her husband that he had won the Nobel peace prize. (ANI)

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