China’s authorities seem to be working overtime today to ensure that there is little or no discussion inside China of yesterday’s choice of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) as this year’s recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Chattering on Twitter, Chinese journalists and dissidents have said that the Central Propaganda Department has ordered media not to re-run even the government’s official news release, in which a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu “goes against the aims of the prize and profanes its meaning,” and that the awarding of the prize to the dissident would “do harm to Sino-Norwegian relations.”
Major Internet news portals in China has been ordered to remove special topic pages on the Nobel Prize, and domestic microblog services in China are reportedly also being censored, with references to Liu Xiaobo and the peace prize disallowed.
Given strict controls, references online to Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Prize were of a supremely oblique nature — like the response from popular novelist, blogger and race car driver Han Han, who posted an entry with only a pair of quotation marks.
Images, however, are much more difficult to subject to technical Internet controls. And one of the strongest statements came from artist Kuang Biao (邝飚).
In this cartoon, posted by Kuang to his QQ blog, a Nobel Prize medallion is locked behind prison bars. Underneath the image, Kuang has simply written “10-8-2010,” yesterday’s historic date.
The Associated Press reports that supporters and friends of Liu Xiaobo gathered outside his Beijing apartment yesterday evening as his wife was reportedly kept inside by police. The AP also reports that “a civil rights lawyer, a retired official-turned-blogger and a dozen other people” who cheered and waved placards reading “Long Live Freedom of Speech” last night were taken away by police.