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China's elite push for release of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, says report

Published on May 11, 2014 12:59 PM
 

BEIJING (REUTERS) - A group of "princelings", children of China's political elite, has quietly urged the Communist Party leadership to release jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo on parole to improve the country's international image, two sources said.

Liu's release is not high on the agenda of the party, which is trying to push through painful economic, judicial and military reforms amid the most extensive crackdown on corruption in over six decades, the sources with ties to the leadership said, requesting anonymity.

But the back channel push for Liu's parole shows that a debate is taking place among leaders about damage to China's reputation caused by his jailing. It also suggests the ruling elite are not monolithic when it comes to views on dissent.

Liu, 58, a veteran dissident involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests crushed by the army, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges for organising a petition urging an end to one-party rule.

 
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