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Chinese paper says Nobel 'tool of Western interests'

BEIJING - Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to an imprisoned Chinese dissident sparked praise from Western governments, brought condemnation from Beijing and is exposing the difficulties fitting a powerful, authoritarian China into the international order.

A day after Liu Xiaobo, 54, was named winner, the Chinese government built upon its angry response Saturday. Authorities escorted Liu's wife from Beijing to the northeastern city where he is imprisoned but did not let her see him to deliver the news. That will have to wait until today, a family member said.

Activist lawyers in Beijing inspired by the award to hold a get-together said police followed them and told them to stay home, preventing them from meeting.

While the government sank into official silence as did much of the state media, a tabloid newspaper affiliated with the ruling Communist Party's flagship People's Daily caustically criticized the prize as part of a Western plot to sow divisiveness in a rising China.

"Good Chinese have reason to suspect that the Nobel Peace Prize has been reduced to a political tool of Western interests," said the popular Global Times. "What they're doing now is using the Peace Prize to tear a hole in Chinese society." - AP

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