China on Tuesday slammed the US Senate for moving to rename a stretch of road after a jailed dissident and Nobel laureate — potentially changing its Washington embassy’s address to 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza.
Liu was a co-author of Charter 08, a bold petition calling for political reform in the Communist-ruled country, and was jailed for 11 years in 2009 for subversion. His Nobel award the following year outraged Beijing.
The Senate passed the measure — introduced by Republican senator Ted Cruz, currently vying to be his party’s presidential nominee — on Friday.
The move “violated the basic norms of international relations”, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.
“We require the US Senate to stop the deliberation on the relevant bill, and we also hope that the US administration will stop and put an end to the political fuss,” he said at a regular briefing.
On Sunday the Global Times, a paper with close ties to China’s ruling party, posted an editorial on its website saying the move was “no big deal”.
But Hong said: “If the bill is passed, it will cause grave consequences.”
A committee of the US House of Representatives is now considering a similar bill. If passed, the legislation would require President Barack Obama’s signature to become law.