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China Warns Against Awarding Nobel Prize to Dissident


China says it hopes the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to what it calls the "right person" this year.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang spoke to journalists Tuesday after a Chinese dissident had been mentioned as a potential winner of the prestigious prize.

Qin said Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel set up the prize to promote world peace and human progress. But he added, some prizes in the past had been awarded against Mr. Nobel's original purpose.

Experts have suggested Chinese civil rights campaigner Hu Jia is a front-runner for this year's prize. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced Friday.

Hu is serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence on charges of subversion.

In 1989, Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, won the Nobel Peace Prize against strong objections from Beijing.

Hu Jia has spoken out on environmental issues and on behalf of AIDS victims. He was arrested during China's crackdown on dissidents in December (2007) and was sentenced to prison in March of this year.

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