Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel Peace Prize: Early Reactions on Twitter

Liu Xiaobo has been awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Sitting in a jail cell in Northern China, he has no way of knowing this, but the ceremony–which was broadcast live on the internet and wasn’t blocked in China–is over and Chinese Twitter users are in a pretty celebratory mood. Below are some translated reactions:

Fang Zhenghu:

Congratulations to Liu Xiaobo for winning the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize!

Michael Anti:

Today, many people’s first reaction [to the news] was to cry. RT @yimaobuba: I’m crying in an airport lounge in Sydney.

Michael Anti:

Friends in Tokyo, tonight the drinks are on me! Please call me at 08032028778, we’ll drink until I don’t care whether I’m bankrupt or not.


[quoting Sun Yat-sen:] Global trends are vast and powerful. Those who follow prosper, those who resist die off.

Zhi Yongxu:

Long Live Freedom!

Wang Zhongxia:

Norway is badass [牛逼], I’m crying in the car right now [on the way to visit Liu Xiaobo’s wife].

Shifeike [being retweeted by lots of people on Twitter and Sina Weibo]:

Are there brothers in Shanghai? Let’s have a banquet! This is the invitation, we’ll meet in the People’s Square.

Liu Xiaoyuan:

I bet some officials are regretting it now. Perhaps they’re thinking, if we hadn’t given Liu Xiaobo a harsh sentence, would the Nobel Peace Prize still have come to China?


Heading out, breaking my vow to abstain and having a drink! [Note: I am assuming this is in response to the news, but am not 100% sure]


I…am…so…thankful…to…Chinese…twitterers…let’s go out….the meal is my treat…


Update: people are setting off firecrackers [in celebration] at Peking University!


Seething with excitement, everywhere is seething with excitement. It’s just that a big group of idiots don’t know what’s happened. It really makes you fucking feel for them…


Really, I don’t dare to believe it’s true!

Ai Weiwei:

Tell your friends, family and classmates who Liu Xiaobo is and why he is loved and respected by “anti-China” forces.

Ai Weiwei:

The man without enemies has finally come across a friend, bravo! ((This is a reference to a statement Liu made in court before being sentenced to 11 years. He said that despite his treatment, he had no enemies.))

The announcement quickly became a trending topic on Twitter and Sina Weibo, although at the moment it appears to have been deleted from Sina Weibo. Most Chinese news portals have deleted their coverage of the prize this year, and text messages with the name “Liu Xiaobo” in Chinese are being blocked over China mobile phones, at least in Beijing.

Note: Keep in mind this post is not necessarily a reflection of everyone’s opinion. These tweets were chosen more or less at random. I genuinely didn’t see anyone on Twitter expressing dissatisfaction with the selection (in Chinese or English) but that may be as much of a commentary on the people I choose to follow as it is the reality of public opinion. Either way, it’s worth remembering: the average Chinese person doesn’t know that Liu Xiaobo has won, or even who he is. Will that change? Time will tell.

We’ll continue covering this as events warrant.

0 thoughts on “Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel Peace Prize: Early Reactions on Twitter”

  1. Chosen at random you say… half of those are liberal bloggers, and there ain’t too many of those in China. The Nobel peace prize is a joke. Maybe if they didn’t feel compelled to give one out every year they’d actually save it up for someone who deserves it. Nevertheless, I can feel the shitstorm brewing.


  2. Putz_ster: “Alfred Nobel would probably be flipping over in his grave right now.”

    Talking out of your ass again, Putz. Why do you think that Alfred Nobel would object to the decisison to award the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo? Do you imagine that Mr. Nobel would oppose Charter 08 and support Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment?


  3. Gan Lu,

    Only narrow minded thinking like yours would say I was talking out of my ass. The Nobel Peace prize should be given for people who actually accomplished something for the benefit of others. Bill Clinton after his presidency with HIV/AIDS. Sonny Bono would probably be up there. Obama did nothing to benefit Americans after he got elected. Liu Xiaobo did nothing to benefit to benefit the people in China.


  4. Putz_ster: “The Nobel Peace prize should be given for people who actually accomplished something for the benefit of others…Sonny Bono would probably be up there.”

    Good grief, Putz, do you even know who Sonny Bono is? (Hint: He was once married to Cher, and died 10 or so years ago after skiing into a tree.) A Nobel Peace Prize for Sonny Bono would be a surprise indeed.

    As for your argument that Liu Xiaobo has done nothing to benefit the Chinese people, I recommend that you reconsider the importance of loyal opposition to the healthy functioning of any society.


  5. lol Twitter? Seriously?

    Look, by its (Western, and walled) nature, it is necessarily filled with people with a certain political inclination. In this case, of the blind Western liberalist type.

    @Zhuge Jiang



    He clearly loves something, but that “something” sure as hell ain’t his country.


  6. pug_ster. How dare you diss Sonny Bono. The guy had a monopoly on tasteful threads and should be recognised.

    Good one Custer. The vitriol and threats will spew out of Beijing for a few weeks. Liu Xiaobo will suddenly recieve better treatment in prison (food, medical) just in case he is given an early release.

    pug_ster. Ideas, of whatever variety, are hard to croak and there is always the potential for serious convergence ie corruption, the price of apts, rich/poor divide. You never know your luck in the big city.

    BTW gan lu. Cher is of Armenian ancestry.


  7. I could have believed the “peace” prize this time, if it wasn’t awarded to a lama before, which made the whole thing a pure joke.
    I don’t know him at all (and doubt very much a lot of people who praise him do). But it is now very difficult for me not to believe this guy had committed serious crimes, and he is not being used as a political tool by foreign powers.


  8. chaji>

    That quote is easy to explain: he loves the Chinese people, not the country “the People’s Republic of China”.

    In other words, it doesn’t matter who the “Emperor” is, if he’s a foreigner or not, so long as the people are better off.


  9. @chaji:

    You’re right, it’s ridiculous and unpatriotic for someone to suggest that the government of a country doesn’t matter as long as it does what’s best for the people…

    Also, I wonder if you or any of the other fenqing have ANYTHING negative about Liu Xiaobo other than that quote, which you failed to note is FROM OVER TWENTY YEARS AGO.

    I think it’s obvious he’s overstating things for dramatic effect–something young, angry men are prone to doing (see, for example, half the comments here). But even if he wasn’t…that was two decades ago. Does ONE foolish comment negate everything else he’s done?

    And if he’s such a terrible traitor to China, how come the only bad thing anyone can quote him as saying comes from two decades ago. The man has done nothing but write his whole life; surely you could find something more recent, no?



  10. Putz_ster: “I meant U2′s Bono, not Sonny Bono.”

    I knew what you meant, Putz, but it doesn’t matter. Suggesting that Bono of U2 is a more worthy candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize than Liu Xiaobo is just as stupid as suggesting that Sonny Bono should have won it. It’s really six of one, a half dozen of the other. Dumb and dumber. Feel me?

    I generally support Bono’s activism, but he’s never demonstrated anything like the courage that Liu Xiaobo has. Bono is a rock star activist who, in between gigs in NY and LA, attempts to convince members of U.S. congress to forgive African debt. Liu Xiaobo, on the other hand, has devoted his entire adult life to speaking truth to power – in the P.R.C., no less. Bono spends his downtime at his vacation home in Nice. Liu Xiaobo spends his sitting in a Chinese prison.

    Anyone who questions Liu Xiaobo’s patriotism is a f*cking idiot. In addition to encouraging you to familiarize yourselves with the concept of loyal dissent, you might also profit from visiting the following link and reading some of Liu’s past writings. (Putz, I understand that you’re too busy posting stupid comments to actually read anything that Liu’s written [e.g., Charter 08], so my suggestion doesn’t apply to you.)

    Alternatively, you might like to read the following, one of Liu’s better known essays (sorry, not included at the prior link):









    会说多种外语的江泽民很善于表演,刚在五十年大庆上检阅完三军,又于新千年凌时登上没有竣工的世纪坛祭祖,讲完了“三讲”又讲“三个代表”,镇压了民主党又灭了** *,并时不时地以大国主宰的自信频频进行国际巡回演出,在莫扎特用过的钢琴上历经坎坷地弹完了“洪湖水”,然后又伸手抢过外国元首授予的勋章,急不可耐地自己给自己戴在胸前。










    胡平曾在〈犬儒病〉中精辟地分析过有中国特色的“消极自由”,我在这里借用其大意:对伊塞亚•伯林(Isaiah•Berlin)提出的两种自由之分的翻译本身,就表现出一种下意识的懦弱心理。原文是negative liberty和positive liberty,既可以译为“否定性自由”和“肯定性自由”,也可以译成“消极自由”和“积极自由”,而我们就一定要译成后一种。如果把这种中文再直译回到英文就变成了passive liberty和active liberty。这种在两可之间取“消极自由”而舍“否定性自由”的翻译,可谓用心良苦。因为,在汉语中,“消极”一词,最容易使人联想到“被动”、“逃避”。于是,望文生意,把“消极自由”作为躲避现实的同义词,近似于毛泽东的《反对自由主义》的“事不关己,高高挂起,明知不对,少说为佳,明哲保身,但求无过”。西方的自由主义在我们的自由主义者笔下变得如此犬儒,才是“有中国特色的自由主义”。正是在有中国特色的“消极自由”的庇护下,“历史的缺席权”、“思想淡出,学术凸显”、“远离现实,退回书斋”、“莫谈国事”的政治冷漠、……成了精英们拒绝直面严酷的专制现实的堂皇理由。既然正宗自由主义认为管得最少的政府就是最好的政府,那么,民众最不关心的政治就是最好的政治;既然消极自由是“免于他人干涉和强制的自由”而不是主动“去做……什么的自由”,那么我们就不必去主动争取什么。于是,老庄式的遁世主义被所谓自由派知识分子冠以自由主义之名,就是十足的猪哲学了——被赶进或主动逃进猪圈,等人来喂就是了。
















  11. @ C. Custer

    Besides getting involved with the minyun-controlled Independent Chinese PEN Center, I also don’t like his preference for federalism, which he showed in Charter 08. China, in my view, is better with a strong central government. Otherwise, the wide regional differences may result in China’s dissolution, just like the Soviet Union. Not that I expect you to care, of course, you being the liberal internationalist that you seem to be. It’s not like you wouldn’t benefit from the subsequent destruction of trade barriers either.

    I also don’t like how he talks about his ideologies, especially about how specific “right”s and “freedom”s should be implemented. I’ve posted my reasoning under the article under “Zhang Wen: “Citizens cannot take responsibility, Democracy cannot succeed””, so I won’t waste our time explaining again.

    And please, enough with the name calling. You don’t know who I am, and you don’t know my political affiliations. Is my distaste for Wavelet Liu a sufficient reason for the fenqing label?

    Following that logic, I guess you’re really not much more than a brainwashed narcissistic liberal blindly and religiously devoted to your ideology who likes to pretend he’s never wrong.

    If you don’t think that’s fair, then maybe neither was your comment.


  12. @ chaji: Perhaps the “fenqing” was unfair, but you have to admit that picking that particular quote is a pretty classic play in the fenqing playbook. You’re welcome to dislike Liu Xiaobo, the use of the fenqing label was because the “reasoning” you summoned to defend your view was, to my mind, pretty typical of the fenqing approach (i.e. based in something true but intentionally diversionary and completely ignoring the big picture).

    If you have issues with Liu’s federalism, that’s fine. I don’t agree, but regardless, the question, whether you agree with Liu or not, is is his pursuit of change in the Chinese political system patriotic. You summoned one quote, from twenty years ago, and ignored his entire body of written work, to support the conclusion that he is not a patriot but a traitor.

    Regardless of your opinions, you must agree that as a rhetorical strategy that is, as they say, weak sauce.

    And disagreeing with his preference for federalism…that’s totally reasonable, but it seems like it should be the basis for a coherent argument about why you think Liu’s prescriptions for China won’t work, not evidence that he’s a traitor who should rot in a cell for the next eleven years or that he doesn’t deserve the Peace Prize for his work promoting human rights (keep in mind that’s what he won the prize for, not for his re-imagining the structure of the new Chinese government he’d like to see, not for Charter 08, although I am sure parts of Charter 08 did contribute to the decision.)

    Anyway, anyone who thinks Liu shouldn’t have won should be angry at the Chinese government. I sincerely doubt he would have if it weren’t for their comically ham-fisted threats to Norway (both this year and more generally over the years when other dissidents such as Hu Jia were nominated).


  13. Nobel would jump out of his grave and kill members of the committee. THe bastards are make fun of humankind. at least 40 billion people are more worthy than liu xiaobo


  14. Liu Xiaobo has received hundreds of thousands of US government funding via the NED in the past five years to conduct domestic political activity in China (including advocating abolition of China’s constitution.) Check NED’s China grants for Independent Chinese Pen Center and Minzhu Zhongguo magazine, which Liu heads.

    If Liu were American he would be in violation of FARA (Foreign Agent Registration Act). Ron Paul had once commented “What the NED does in foreign countries… would be rightly illegal in the United States”.


  15. If Liu Xiaobo succeeded, civil war would break out in China, between the Han and the Tibetans, Han and the Uyghurs, maybe Mongols, between the rich and poor etc. Millions of deaths would be the probable result. Exactly what the “free west” wants, and therefore this “nobel price” is indeed well deserved. This guy is in the same league as “peace heros” like the mass murder and war criminal Henry Kissinger, the terrorist Arafat, the US war president and clandestine black ops president Hussein Obama, and others of that ilk.


  16. @ Charles Liu:

    We’ve had this discussion before. If Liu were in the US, he would be perfectly fine, assuming he did register and keep records, as is required by the FARA. But assuming that he registered and kept records, he would be in no danger whatsoever.

    Moreover, you’re making a false analogy, as Liu was convicted of “attempting to incite subversion of state power” based on the contents of Charter 08, not because he had accepted money from foreign governments and thus violated some law similar to FARA. Quoting from the sentence read at the end of Liu’s trial, he was convicted because he “published inciting articles”, and because he “drafted and concocted Charter 08” and then posted it on overseas websites.

    Specifically, he was convicted of violating article 105 section two of the PRC criminal code, which reads:

    “Whoever incites others by spreading rumors or slanders or any other means to subvert the State power or overthrow the socialist system shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights; and the ringleaders and the others who commit major crimes shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years. “

    In fact, Article 106 and 107 of the Criminal Code state:

    Article 106 Whoever commits the crime as prescribed in Article 103, 104 or 105 of this Chapter in collusion with any organ, organization or individual outside the territory of China shall be given a heavier punishment according to the provisions stipulated in these Articles respectively.

    Article 107 Where an organ, organization or individual inside or outside of the territory of China provides funds to any organization or individual within the territory of China to commit the crime as prescribed in Article 102, 103, 104 or 105, the person who is directly responsible for the crime shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights; if the circumstances are serious, he shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years.

    But NEITHER of these laws were even MENTIONED in Liu’s verdict. From the verdict: “The procuratorate found that Liu Xiaobo’s actions have violated the stipulations of Article 105 (2) of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China…” No other article is mentioned.

    So, in short, good try with the false analogy, but that’s not going to fly here. Liu’s crime and sentencing in China are in no way comparable to FARA. Moreover, there’s no reason to think Liu would have been sentenced to a day of jail time even if he DID refuse to register in the US. In fact, not a single person has been convicted in a criminal case under FARA since 1966.


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