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China Digital Times is showcasing two examples that the government’s efforts to tarnish Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and silence his supporters have not been entirely successful. One, the cover of Southern Metropolis Daily,  is a symbol-laden illustration showing empty chairs, cranes and a man trying to halt the cranes’ progress. Click here for a shot of the page and an explanation of its symbolic meaning: http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2010/12/netizens-interpret-empty-chairs-on-the-cover-of-southern-metropolis-daily/

The other example consists of posts on a popular Chinese blogging site and on Twitter that all are titled, “The Lius I admire.” Each brief post appears to follow a formula that congratulates a “person with the surname Liu” for his or her fighting spirit and resistance to injustice.  You can see a description of this endeavor here: http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2010/12/the-lius-i-admire/

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Kudos to the Global Times for publishing a lengthy special report about an annual conference of investigative journalists in China. Its publication on the same day the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to imprisoned free-speech advocate Liu Xiaobo (although the event took place in November) indicates that support for the concept cannot be entirely quashed even in state-run media. The article describes the many ways authorities try to suppress the conference, as well as the stories that attendees deemed most worthy.

Advocates of free speech are encouraged to take a look at the article and appreciate the risks Chinese editors and reporters must take to practice genuine journalism:

http://special.globaltimes.cn/2010-12/600744.html

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As expected, today’s editions of Beijing-based newspapers brim with anti-Nobel Peace Prize editorials fuming about Western insults to China. Here’s a sampling:

“Insult of the Nobel Peace Prize” at China Daily; be sure to check out the comments it attracted – more than 335 so far. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-12/10/content_11680595.htm

“Human Rights Day,” a stupendously self-serving piece of propaganda designed to counter criticism of China’s record in this regard. The timing of its publication today is no accident. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-12/10/content_11685277.htm

“Liu’s Nobel ignores China’s true human rights progress,” which includes a  lie so brazen it is breathtaking: “The 1.3 billion people in China are the ones who have the utmost legitimate right to speak on these issues.” Of course – as long as they don’t mention freedom of speech, democracy or human rights as anything but conspiracies of Western cultural imperialism. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-12/10/content_11685884.htm

If you can take any more, the following links to the Global Times and People’s Daily provide more along the same lines: http://www.globaltimes.cn/

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/

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This year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, imprisoned Chinese democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, has been silenced and punished for years because he spoke out in favor of free speech and an end to one-party rule in China. The picture of an empty chair at the award ceremony today speaks eloquently about Liu’s oppression, and his own words about banishing hatred from his country are astonishing evidence of why the Chinese government feared the power of his public proclamations. For a translation into English of Liu’s final address to the court that sentenced him to 11 years in prison, go to this link at the China Digital Times, a project of the journalism school at the University of California in Berkeley: http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2010/02/liu-xiaobo-i-have-no-enemies-my-final-statement/#

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With two days to go before the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to an imprisoned Chinese democracy activist, newspapers in Beijing have resumed their condemnation of the decision. While doing so, a column in China Daily parrots two of the regime’s most cherished myths: that the Chinese enjoy a “harmonious and stable society” run by a “democratic leadership, led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and farmers.”

“Harmonious and stable” are euphemisms for the unquestioned dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party, none of whose members belong to the “working class.” Instead, they enjoy privileges and comforts that most workers can only dream about. And if workers and farmers ever did get organized enough to form an alliance, you can bet that the powers in Beijing would sic the People’s Army on them faster than you can say Liu Xiaobo. 

Nonetheless, responses to the column make for interesting reading. Check it out here: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-12/08/content_11667718.htm

Meanwhile, the Global Times has weighed in with a typical rant positing that Norway and other Western countries choose to ignore China’s economic progress, a point which ignores the fact that the Peace Prize is awarded for work that enhances human rights. It also claims “dozens” of countries will boycott the ceremony in support of China, when in fact as of today not even two dozen (19) have announced they will do so. This could easily have been discovered by Googling the term “Nobel boycott,” but of course in China the Great Firewall probably blocks access to any website that mentions the Nobel Peace Prize. Here’s a link to the editorial: http://opinion.globaltimes.cn/editorial/2010-12/599717.html

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After a spate of hysterical denunciations about interference in Chinese affairs and cultural imperialism, the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony slated for this Friday (Dec. 10) is now being greeted in Chinese media with a thunderous silence. No doubt propaganda authorities have ordered news media not to mention imprisoned Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who is serving 11 years in prison for advocating freedom of speech, an act considered to be subversion.

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Despite the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, the Public Broadcasting Service cut parts of a speech by comedian Tina Fey, whose imitations of political gadfly Sarah Palin skewer the Alaskan politician. As she accepted the 2010 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Fey joked about Palin’s political views. Those jokes, however, weren’t broadcast. A PBS producer claimed they were cut only because the speech was too long.

The cuts PBS made also violate its own editorial standards, the first of which includes “shielding the creative and editorial processes from political pressure or improper influence from funders or other sources.” Finally, they dishonor the man for whom the prize was named. Mark Twain’s writing also used humor to skew powerful people and entrenched ideas because “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

The only crime worse than government-imposed censorship is self-imposed censorship in a country whose guarantee of free speech can actually be exercised.

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