10 October 2010
China celebrates Liu Xiaobo Nobel Prize with arrests and error messages
There is no doubt that Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace prize – far more worthy than, many previous laureates. Needless to say the Chinese authorities were not best pleased.
There is little prospect of his being released from prison but now, according to the Globe and Mail, his wife, Liu Xia, has been placed under house arrest having been allowed to visit him over the weekend to tell him he was now a Nobel laureate, she is also prevented from using her mobile phone….
But not prevented from using Twitter…. “I’m under house arrest. I don’t know when I can meet you guys. My mobile phone was broken and I have no way to take calls,”
Many Chinese likely still have no idea that Mr. Liu has become the country’s first resident Nobel laureate. Those Chinese media that did make mention of the award ran only a small article from the official Xinhua news wire that quoted a foreign ministry official saying the award could hurt ties between Beijing and Oslo.
In a sign of how anxious Beijing is to prevent any public rallying around Mr. Liu’s award, police broke up two small gatherings of dissidents who had hoped to celebrate Mr. Liu’s victory over the weekend.
Nonetheless, news of Mr. Liu’s win – and the contents of Charter 08 – continued to spread online among China’s 420 million Internet users. Though search terms such as “Liu Xiaobo” and “Nobel Peace Prize” return only error messages, some Chinese internet users bravely reposted the contents of the Charter 08 for others to read.
“The government will certainly try all means to block [the news of Mr. Liu’s win], but we are in the Internet age, so it is impossible to block it completely,” said Wen Kejian, a Hangzhou-based writer who was among the first to sign Charter 08 when it was published in December 2008. “The Nobel Prize will surely help more people read and know what Liu has done, and to hear about Charter 08.”
I will add no glib comment to this article