The Revolt of China’s Twittering Classes
BEIJING – Last week, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. That award comes at a crucial moment in Chinese politics, as it may well become a stepping stone on China’s long march toward greater freedom.
Yet few voices in mainland Chinese media are discussing Liu’s Nobel Prize. The government’s propaganda department has ordered major media to keep the news from spreading to the general public by imposing strict censorship. In fact, on CCTV’s widely viewed 7 p.m. national newscast, not a word on Liu was mentioned on the day he received the prize.
Despite this news blackout, China’s blogosphere and microblogs exploded after Liu was announced as the winner. For example, on Sina’s microblog site, bloggers used pictures, euphemisms, and English or traditional Chinese characters to avoid censorship.