[Updated] Liu Xiaobo awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Liu Xiaobo

Unbeknown to him, Liu Xiaobo was this afternoon awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel Committee chose Liu for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

The Twittersphere exploded; from widespread news of the announcement’s transmission being cut in China to netizens’ celebratory meetups being organised (and, in some cases, cancelled for fear of police reprisals). Beijing responded furiously to the news, calling Liu’s win a “blasphemy to the peace prize.”

Quoted in The Guardian, outspoken writer Liao Yiwu said:

As Liu’s best friend, I am so happy I can’t describe what I feel. This is a big moment in Chinese history. It will greatly promote democratic developments in China and it is a huge encouragement to us and our friends.

There has been an influx of reactions to the news, with more likely to seep in. Full reports from The Guardian can be found here and here. At Forbes, Gady Epstein discusses what the prize, Liu himself and China’s other dissidents stand for, while more personal accounts of Liu have been penned by Evan Osnos at the New Yorker, and Channel 4’s Lindsey Hilsum. Over at the Christian Science Monitor, meanwhile, Peter Ford weighs up the possible harm today’s win could cause to China’s other human rights activists.

Charter 08, the pro-democracy manifesto that landed Liu in jail last December, is available to read here.


Some Saturday reading

A full blog entry is on its way, but in the meantime, here are some ways to spend the time locked inside thanks to the Shanghai rain.
  • Danwei has reposted an archived letter from Taipei-based journalist Ralph Jennings’ advice column, in which a teenage girl with “relatively good looks, a slim figure, good family background and an excellent academic performance” yearns for popularity. Jennings himself says: “here’s where members of China’s only-child generation start paying dues. Children smothered in the formative years by parental compliments imagine it’s impossible to do serious wrong or to fail against public perception. Then they go off to a faraway college where no one really cares.”
  • A Beijing zoo is up there with Shanghai’s notorious counterpart in the extreme stakes. Visitors are discouraged from feeding the hippos, crocodiles or kangaroos, but are allowed to eat them at the zoo’s exotic restaurant, The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts has reported. The offerings have garnered a fair amount of criticism, with bloggers and experts from the China Academy of Social Sciences and the International Fund for Animal Welfare speaking out. Staff have since pledged to revise the menu.
  • Forbes’ Gady Epstein has reviewed The Party, a new book by the FT’s Richard McGregor, which exposes the pervasive workings of the CCP in business and public life. The money quote comes from a Renmin University professor who told McGregor, “the Party is like God. He is everywhere. You just can’t see him.”
  • The Dalai Lama yesterday held an hour-long online chat with Chinese netizens via Twitter. In reference to China’s policies in Tibet, the spiritual leader said, “the government made these tensions, not the people.” An English translation of the conversation is ongoing (click here).
  • With much talk going on regarding China’s social injustices fuelling the recent spate of school killings, the China Elections and Governance blog has offered a detailed look into the source of citizens’ resentment. Mao Yushi claims the CCP’s violence and force in dealing with social unrest is futile. He says, “when selecting a state leader, two parties should finally turn to voting to break the deadlock. If we set up such a voting system, our society can become reasonable again. Stability can thus be maintained, and citizen resentment will be gone.”
  • Gulp…if I ever needed a final push to revamp this blog, Adam Daniel Mezei has certainly provided it. He argues for a drastic reduction in the number of China blogs out there (agreed) that are “doing scant more than than making noise and rattling people’s cages.” Right then…