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“I’ve had many such meetings, but this is probably at the highest level,” Mr. Lundestad said. “They consider this an unfriendly action which would have negative consequences for the relationship between Norway and China.

“We, of course, reject any effort to interfere in the deliberations of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,” he said.

Before his latest sentence, Mr. Liu, a former university professor, also spent 20 months in jail for joining the 1989 student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, which ended when the government called in the military - killing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of demonstrators.