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Beijing blocks news of peace prize for dissident

October 13, 2010

Searches using the key words "Nobel Peace Prize"
and "Liu Xiaobo" brought up no results on Chinese web portals drew a blank.
Swedish Wire
October 8, 2010

BEIJING (AFP) - News that jailed Chinese
dissident Liu Xiaobo had won the 2010
Nobel  Peace Prize quickly made headlines around
the world Friday, but in China the award was hard
to find on TV and major Internet sites.

China's official Xinhua news agency carried news
of the prize in English and Chinese -- by
headlining the government's angry reaction to it.

But searches using the key words "Nobel Peace
Prize" and "Liu Xiaobo" brought up no results on
Chinese web portals Sina, Sohu and Baidu while
similar searches on Weibo, a Twitter-like service, also drew a blank.

The evening news on China Central Television made
no mention of Liu, opening instead with a story
about flooding on the southern island of Hainan
as foreign news outlets splashed the story across
the front pages of their websites.

Text messages sent containing the full name of
Liu Xiaobo appeared to be blocked, according to
several tests carried out by AFP correspondents.

Liu, a writer and one-time university professor,
was honoured "for his long and non-violent
struggle for fundamental human rights in China,"
Norwegian Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern
Jagland said in his announcement.

Beijing slammed the decision as a violation of
the Nobel Peace Prize's ideals, while the
laureate's joyful wife led calls for his immediate release.

China -- which has repeatedly branded the
54-year-old a criminal following his December
2009 jailing for 11 years on subversion charges
-- also warned Norway that ties would suffer over
the Nobel committee's decision.

Beijing operates a vast system of web censorship,
sometimes referred to as the "Great Firewall of
China". It blocks access to any content the
government deems unacceptable, ranging from pornography to political dissent.

Critics at home and abroad complain that the
Internet rules stifle criticism of the ruling
Communist Party and restrict discussion on
sensitive topics such as Tibet and the brutal
crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests.
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