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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo

October 11th, 2010 | 8 comments | Posted by Jen

Name: Liu Xiaobo

Age: 54

Occupation: Literature professor and jailed Chinese dissident

Known for: Returning to China from the U.S. during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and saving hundreds of lives by persuading students to leave the square as army tanks were rolling in; being imprisoned for most of the last 20 years for his peaceful protest of the Chinese government; helping to draft Charter 08, a manifesto calling for freedom of expression, free elections, and human rights in China.

First the good news: On Friday of last week, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Liu is the first Chinese citizen still living in mainland China to ever win a Nobel.

Now the bad: In advance of his winning, 14 overseas Chinese dissidents wrote a letter to the Nobel committee declaring Liu an “unsuitable” laureate for, among other reasons, being soft on the Chinese government. Then, when the award was announced, China censored any mention of Liu and the prize. And now Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, is apparently under house arrest.

A peace prize has been given, yes, but still, no peace.

[TIME: Chinese Dissident Liu Xiaobo Wins the Nobel Peace Prize]
[NY Times: Unusual Opposition to a Favorite for Nobel]


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Remembering Tiananmen

June 4th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

It’s been 20 years since the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing.

There were 7 weeks of nonviolent student protest leading up to it.

The exact number of people killed in Tiananmen Square on and around June 4, 1989 is unknown. The Chinese Red Cross initially gave an estimate of 2,600 dead that they later denied.

20 years ago, I sat in my friend Patti’s kitchen, looking at this Time magazine cover:

We had been cooing over Patti’s new baby sister, who was the 9th child in her family.

10 years before Tiananmen, in 1979, China instituted its one-child policy.

In my one year of living in China, exactly one person spoke to me about what happened in Tiananmen. The story he told me was a secondhand account.

There was only one “Tank Man.” But there were 4 photographers who captured him stepping in front of those armored combat vehicles.

A recent NY Times story maintains that the Tiananmen Square protests are regarded by Chinese students today as “almost a historical blip,” although it is not as hard to get information about them as it used to be. 7 out of the 8 Peking University students interviewed for the article were able to download a banned documentary on the protests and watch it in their dorm rooms, for example.

5 years after I sat in Patti’s kitchen looking at pictures of the massacre, I played frisbee in Tiananmen Square.

The Chinese government estimated in 2000 that its one-child policy had prevented 250 million births, which was the population of the United States in 1989.

The Chinese government’s official death figure from Tiananmen was 241 dead (including soldiers), 7,000 wounded.

The one detail I remember vividly from the secondhand account of Tiananmen I heard was that the person whose story it was survived by hiding in a tree from the Chinese military for days. How many days, I don’t know for sure.

20 years later, the fate of Tank Man still remains unknown.

[Frontline: Tiananmen timeline]
[NY Times: Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen]


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March 27th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Happy 52nd birthday to Hong Kong activist Leung Kwok-hung! You’ve spent many moons growing out that coif (we hear that you aren’t cutting it until China apologizes for the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests)– here’s hoping you have reason for a trim this year.


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Fuck Censorship

June 11th, 2007 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

With the passing of the Tiananmen Square Massacre’s tenth anniversary last week, China blocked access to Flickr, the photo-sharing site. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Users from across China posted messages on Flickr describing difficulties accessing images on the Web site, voicing frustration and laying blame on the Chinese government. Access to the Flickr home page and comments area is still apparently possible in China.

Just a little reminder that censorship is BULLSHIT.

Click here for full story.

Source: FLICKR

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