October 7, 2008 / 10:04 AM / 11 years ago

China hopes "right person" wins Nobel Peace Prize

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Wednesday it hoped the Nobel Peace Prize, due to be announced on Friday, will go to the “right person” after a Chinese dissident had been mentioned as a potential winner.

China warned last month that it would not be happy if a Chinese dissident won this year’s prize, as suggested by two prominent Norwegians.

It is 19 years since Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, won the only award linked to China in the 107-year history of the prize.

China condemns the Dalai Lama as a separatist who foments unrest in Tibet, a charge he denies.

The Nobel prizes were created in the 1895 will of the Swedish philanthropist and inventor. Those tipped by experts and bookmakers to win the peace prize include Chinese dissident Hu Jia and Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai.

“I think when Mr Nobel set up the prize it was to promote world peace and human progress,” Qin Gang, spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, told a news conference.

“However some of the prizes went against Mr Nobel’s original purpose. We hope the prize should be awarded to the right people.”

Hu Jia was found guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” in April for criticising the ruling Communist Party, a verdict that drew quick condemnation from the United States, Britain and the United Nations.

He is now serving a three-and-a-half year sentence in a prison in Beijing’s neighbouring city of Tianjin.

Reporting by Yu Le; Editing by Bill Tarrant

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