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China calls U.S. bid to name street for Nobel peace laureate a 'farce'

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Wednesday dismissed as a "farce" and a "smear" a vote by a United States panel of lawmakers to rename a Washington road in front of its embassy after imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Republican Frank Wolf from Virginia submitted the amendment to the annual State Department spending bill, instructing Secretary of State John Kerry to rename the street as "No.1, Liu Xiaobo Plaza", the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

"Some people from the United States have used so-called human rights and the Liu Xiaobo case to engage in this meaningless sensationalism," China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

"It is nothing more than an attempt to smear China. We think this is purely a farce."

Liu, 58, a veteran dissident involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests that were brutally crushed by the army, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on charges of subversion for organizing a petition urging an end to one-party rule.

Hua reiterated China's stance that Liu had violated Chinese law. Last month, China criticized as "provocative and ignorant" a group of U.S. lawmakers who called for the street to be named for Liu.

The United States and the European Union have repeatedly called for Liu's release and the removal of curbs on his wife, Liu Xia, who is rarely allowed out of her home and is almost never allowed to receive visitors.

She has not been convicted of any crime.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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