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Chinese dissident plans empty chair protest for Nobel peace prize ceremony

By Nairita Das

London, Nov.21 (ANI): A Chinese veteran of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, Yang Jianli, has said that his decision not to attend the Nobel peace prize award ceremony in Oslo on December 10 will send out a strong international message to China to end its human rights violations.

China has prevented dissident Liu Xiaobo from receiving this year's Nobel Peace prize by sentencing him to 11-years in prison for "inciting the subversion of state power" by publishing pro-democracy tracts.

Jianli, now a Harvard-based campaigner for democracy and a friend of Liu and his wife, Liu Xia - currently under house arrest - believes that his empty chair on 10 December will send a message more powerful than any speech or slogan.

Yang was asked by Liu Xia on 15 October to work with the Nobel committee to prepare the ceremony.

"We will be having at least two empty seats on the stage. But those empty seats will speak loudly and will serve as a reminder to the whole world of the situation in China," Yang told the Observer.

After the brutal government crackdown on the student-led Tiananmen movement, Yang left for the US but returned to China on a false passport and was caught and jailed in 2002.

Freed in 2007, he left China again and now maintains a high profile abroad, from where he advocates democratic reforms.

The Oslo ceremony represents a chance for a global media coup for the pro-democracy movements. (ANI)

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