Liu Xiaobo Nobel win: reactions in China
So how many people in China know that Liu Xiaobo has won the Nobel Peace prize? Satellite TV stations carrying the announcement live immediately went to black, and news websites blocked their own Nobel Prize pages. Boxun, which is already blocked in China, showed pictures of the blocked sites.
That led to a joke on Twitter, addressed to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao: “Mr. Wen Jiabao, what do you think of Liu Xiaobo getting the Nobel Peace Prize? Answer: I browsed all the websites and couldn’t find the news.”
But many Chinese, especially students, use proxy servers, so they can access blocked sites. It’s been reported that an hour after the announcement, fireworks were heard in Beijing University and People’s University. Beijing Normal University, where Liu Xiaobo went, is said to have held a celebration at the Graduate School Building.
About a dozen of Liu’s friends in Beijing tried to gather for dinner to celebrate, but were taken away by the police for questioning, and the restaurant was told to close. In Shanghai, an activist was arrested while waiting to meet friends for dinner at People’s Square and dinner was cancelled. His friend took a picture and posted it on twitter.
Teng Biao, a human rights lawyer, tried to send a group sms to announce the prize and reported that the message was blocked. Others trying to SMS Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, also reported “send failure.”
Beijing Subway announced around 8pm that the last train will run at 9pm instead of the usual time of past midnight – possibly because they’re afraid people would come out to celebrate.
An hour before the announcement, three National Security officers went to see Liu Xia and prevent her from leaving her apartment. After she heard the news, she managed to speak to a few journalists on the phone before it was cut.
A friend of hers told Channel 4 News that Liu Xia has been instructed to pack and prepare to visit her husband in prison in Liaoning – they’d rather she did that than talk to the media. She told her friend she’d leave as soon as Xiaobo’s brother arrives with medicine for him.
So we don’t know how many people in China know, and we don’t know if Liu Xiaobo himself knows. But he surely will tomorrow, when his wife arrives with the news.