London Telegraph 
Friday, Oct 24, 2008
Beijing has furiously denounced the award of a major European Union human rights prize to a “criminal” Chinese dissident as a major Europe-Asia summit on the financial crisis begins in China.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has denounced the European Parliament for giving the prestigious Sakharov Prize to Hu Jia, an imprisoned human rights activist.
“We express strong dissatisfaction at the decision to issue such an award to a jailed criminal in China, in disregard of our repeated representations,” said a foreign ministry spokesman.
“This is gross interference in China’s domestic affairs.”
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The row has blown up as Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President and current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, joins José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, in Beijing for a critical two-day Asia-Europe summit.
Mr Sarkozy and Mr Barroso are using the Beijing meeting, between the EU and 16 Asian countries including China and India, to ask for Asia’s help in tackling the current global economic crisis ahead of the global summit in the US in November.
“I very much hope that China gives an important contribution to the solution of this financial crisis,” said Mr Barroso yesterday.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for China to show a sense of responsibility.”