BEIJING (AP) — Beijing on Wednesday blasted as farcical a U.S. congressional panel’s proposal to rename the street in front of China’s embassy in Washington after an imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry official called the move “nothing more than a sheer farce.”

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee included a proposal in its 2015 State Department budget to rename the stretch of road in front of the embassy “Liu Xiaobo Plaza.”

Liu, an activist, is serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing that some Americans were seeking to smear China by “meaninglessly hyping the so-called human rights issue and the case of Liu Xiaobo.”

The amendment, proposed by Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, says the new name should apply for U.S. postal code purposes. The embassy’s street address would be No. 1.

In a statement, Wolf said the change would highlight Liu’s “unjust imprisonment.”

In the 1980s, the street in front of the Soviet Embassy in Washington was named after dissident Andrei Sakharov.

The PEN American Center commended the U.S. congressional panel’s proposal. In an emailed statement, the writers’ group said that renaming the road would serve as “a stark reminder to the Chinese government that jailing a Nobel Peace Prize laureate — or any writer — is deeply offensive to the American people and to all those worldwide who value the right to freedom of expression.”