China's outraged reaction to the nomination of an outspoken exile for the Nobel Peace Prize— who didn't end up winning— was largely unreported in the communist country.
Politicians in China were outraged when a Swedish parliamentarian nominated Rebiya Kadeer for the prestigious prize, awarded last week to a Bangladeshi economist and the bank he founded.
A member of China's Muslim minority Uyghurs, Kadeer received an eight-year sentencein 1999 on charges of sharing state secrets.
Following her nomination, Chinese politicians criticized the Nobel Committee, argued against the nomination and went out of their way to inform foreign journalists of their anti-Kadeer position.
However, there was virtually no coverage of the story inside China.
Wang Lequan, the Communist party secretary for Xinjiang province, which is home to about eight million Uyghurs, on Monday called Kadeer a criminal, a tax-evading troublemaker who was unworthy of the Nobel Prize.
We let her go to the United States, and she continues to spread her separatist ideas, he told a news conference.
Kadeer, 58, left for the U.S. after being freed from a Chinese prison last March, ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She had served five years ofher sentence.
Last May, she testified before a congressional committee about injustices faced by Muslims and women.
Days later, Human Rights Watch accused Chinese police of beating and detaining her son and a number of her business associates.
A Canadian citizen and ethnic Uyghur is currently serving a 15-year sentence in a Chinese prison on a number of terror related charges. Chinasays Huseyin Celil helped organize a political party for the Uyghur minority.