Chinese media in uproar over US move to honor dissident

Pro-democracy protesters hold the picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with words "Release Liu Xiaobo" during a demonstration outside the China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for using non-violence to demand fundamental human rights in his homeland. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese nationalist newspaper says American politicians are resorting to petty actions following a unanimous bill approval by the Senate to rename the plaza in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington after an imprisoned Chinese political dissident.

The Communist Party-controlled Global Times called the move Sunday provocative and said it’s intended to outrage Beijing, although China would not consider it a big deal.

“The U.S. has been at its wits’ end in dealing with China as it is reluctant to employ military threats or economic sanctions that may backfire,” the newspaper wrote. “The only option for Washington seems to be petty actions that disturb China.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

Senate Bill 2451, as proposed by Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, wants to rename the plaza after Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace laureate serving an 11-year sentence on the conviction of inciting state subversion.

The bill still needs to clear the House of Representatives and must be signed by the president before it can become a law, and make “1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza” as the official address of the Chinese Embassy. Its current address is 3505 International Place.

Cruz’s office said the bill expresses solidarity with Chinese dissidents.

The Global Times says the bill is driven by Western jealousy and is unlikely to disturb China, which has grown confident to brush aside ill-intended moves by the West.

“This latest move by Congress cannot change the fact that Liu jeopardized China’s national security and was sentenced to jail,” the paper wrote in its editorial. “Whether Liu feels proud of such turbulent embraces from the West or not, he has become a tool of the West against China.”

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This story corrects address of the Chinese Embassy.

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