China netizens calling Nobel Peace Prize “Gunpowder prize” to get around censors

China netizens calling Nobel Peace Prize “Gunpowder prize” to get around censors

China’s Internet is understandably abuzz over the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo. However, the discussions are being highly whitewashed by China’s censors, with discussion posts taken down and apparently the search function of one of China’s biggest microblogging sites all but disabled.

China Digital Times has published an order from the “Ministry of Truth”, the nickname for China’s state-controlled propaganda machine:

“All websites are to delete special topics on the prize: “Websites are not to create news items or exclusive stories on the Nobel Prize.  Exclusive stories that do exist must all be deleted.”

The latest directive from the Central Propaganda Bureau: “Standard copy on Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize has been approved for distribution, but all media outlets are not allowed to publish it.  This includes all print and online media.”

The Office of Information of the State Council has issued a directive regarding Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize: Set into place the prohibited words on all micro-blogs; on-line forums, blogs and other interactive platforms are all forbidden from transmitting them.  The Xinhua News Agency will shortly circulate copy.

真理部博客编辑祝贺刘晓波获诺贝尔和平奖!各网站删除诺贝尔奖专题 “有关诺贝尔奖事各网站不要制作新闻专题,已有的专题一律撤除。” 中宣部最新指令: (有关刘晓波获得诺贝尔和平奖)通稿照发,但所有媒体不得登载。含一切纸媒、网媒 国新办有关刘晓波获得诺贝尔和平奖最新指示:全国所有微博设置严禁词,论坛博客等互动环节一律禁止传播。稍后新华社会有通稿

One measure that those in support of Liu’s award are using, is to use a code name for the Nobel Prize, calling it the “Gunpowder prize” according to founder Jeremy Goldkorn, though how effective this code is at averting the censors, we’re not sure:

Of course, the “gunpowder prize” refers to Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite.

Also, Goldkorn says that Sina Weibo, one of the most popular Twitter-clones in China, has apparently seen its search shut off for all but username searches according :

Here’ one, however, that I haven’t seen before from the censors: Rebecca MacKinnon of Global Voices retweeted this out – filtering out transliteration of SMS between Chinese cell phones:

Though it is getting pretty late in China now (2:30am at the time of posting) we’ll continuing updating as news comes in on this developing story.

UPDATE: China Digital Times has translated some tweets on reactions of Liu winning the prize.

UPDATE 2: Global Voices has an excellent article both the censorship and police actions since the announcement.

UDATE 3: We just saw this tweet from Twitter user @kfeds:

Note: the thumb image is from HK, not Mainland China, with Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo pictured in the sign.

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