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Obama opposes bill to rename Chinese Embassy address

The Obama administration said Tuesday that the president would veto legislation to rename the area in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington after a Chinese political prisoner, AP reported.

Meanwhile China's Foreign Ministry warned that there would be "serious consequences" if the place was renamed after the Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that the bill proposed by Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, which has passed the Senate, would only complicate efforts to impress upon China the need to respect human rights and release Liu.

China is firmly opposed to the bill because it violated basic norms of international relations, according to foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

"We urge the US Congress to stop considering the bill," Hong said, adding the Chinese side also hopes the United States Administration will end the "political farce."

Cruz's bill would make "1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza" the official address of the embassy. Its current address is 3505 International Place. The bill still needs House approval and then President Obama's signature.

Toner said the White House has indicated Obama would veto it.

"We view this kind of legislative action as something that only complicates our efforts so we oppose this approach," Toner said in Washington. "It's our desire to work more productively and cooperatively with Congress on ways to address our shared goal of improving human rights in China."

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