How does the "South China Morning Post" reporting on Liu Xiaobo differ from mainland China reports on the same subject

Analysis of the question of Liu Xiaobo case that brightly reflecting the position of public intellectuals in China and their role as described by the mass media. Opinion on Liu Xiaobo case by "China Daily" and case by "South China Morning Post".

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Julius-Maximilians-Universitt Wrzburg

Seminar: China's State and society

"How does the South China Morning Post reporting on Liu Xiaobo differ from mainland China reports on the same subject?"

Chinese Studies (M.A.)

1st semester

Student: Liudmila Ilina (2050144)

Table of contents

liu xiaobo china media


On public intellectuals in China

Intellectuals and media

Who is Liu Xiaobo?

Charter 08

Opinion on Liu Xiaobo case by China Daily

Opinion on Liu Xiaobo case by South China Morning Post




The main topic of the term paper is focused on the critical question of Liu Xiaobo case brightly reflecting the position of public intellectuals in China and their role as described by the mass media. The crucial aspect for which I shall try to find a solution is: "How does the South China Morning Post reporting on Liu Xiaobo differ from mainland China reports on the same subject?"

Being the face of liberalism and a fighter for human rights Liu Xiaobo is mostly considered a villain to the authoritarian regime with his out crying vox populi vox dei approach to people's enlightenment by showing the real status quo and opposition to the regime without political fear.

The opinions on Liu Xiaobo case are totally polarized: as one point of view is that in today's mass media and social networking world opening great opportunities to express one's thoughts those being political, personal or just compassion provides more possibilities to develop connections between the ordinary people and civil leaders such as the public intellectuals leading the blind mass and conveying them through the sea of misunderstanding and irresponsiveness of the state. On the other hand the rough opposition to the state and too much personality in self-expression could be dangerous for the health and even could corrode one's family members' background.

On public intellectuals in China

The public intellectual is a term deriving from definitions of scholars such as Richard A. Posner and Edward W. Said, being an intellectual concerned about public affairs and using his professionalism for public engagement. The cultural capital of intellectuals is bigger than one possessed by ordinary people, namely their professional knowledge and prestige that could be used to influence public affairs. Gao, Jason. A Bourdieusian study of the use of media by Chinese public intellectuals. Journal for Communication and Culture 2, no. 2 (winter 2012): p. 176-192.

The self-positioning of public intellectuals, according to Maurizio Marinelli Marinelli, Maurizio. On the public commitment of intellectuals in late socialist China. In Theor Soc (2012) 41:425-449. is balancing between political authoritative commands and the search for intellectual autonomy. The intellectuals in China fight for relative autonomy and have to take into consideration two major polarized aspects: the interests of the party-state and the market-driven commercialization of knowledge. This topic is of major concern, both amongst Chinese intellectuals and state actors.

According to the Southern People Weekly magazine, public intellectuals are "intellectuals having academic background or professional knowledge, actors of social criticism, engagers of public affairs, and idealists who have critical thoughts and moral responsibility." Including scholars, independent intellectuals, media staff, social activists, writers, and artists, generally labeled with a similar ideological view of what the newspaper is calling "political right wing, economic left wing." Gao 2012, p. 178.

Lately with the development of civil society and the rising self-awareness emerged a new phenomenon of a Chinese public intellectual. Importance of the disputes on the identity of Chinese public intellectuals is increasing both inside and outside Mainland China, and the search pro and contra a role for the public intellectuals is forming ideas on the contribution of the scholars to the critical thinking within China as well as globally. Marinelli 2012, p. 425-426.

According to Qiang Zha Zha, Qiang. "Academic Freedom and Public Intellectuals in China." In International Higher Education, No 58. Boston: College Center for International Higher Education, 2010. the Confucian tradition, unlike the Western tradition, induced Chinese scholars to pursue their objectives through action and an outright liability for managing the state. Confucian canons of knowledge and the imperial examination system could better illustrate this tradition of choosing intellectuals to inure as scholar-officials.

Knowledge contributed to perception of environment and not to alter it, and scholars were expected to cultivate the self, manage the family, govern the country and bring peace to the world. They came after a unity of attainments and impact through their roles as scholar-officials. They saw themselves as remunerating political authority with intellectual authority and being in charge of making the ruler humble so that he would be a Philosopher King.

The abrogation of the imperial examination system in 1905 triggered the formation of an independent intellectual class. In the May 4th Movement of 1919, often called China's enlightenment, the Confucian tradition was abjured and Chinese academia began to possess traits of radicalism and utilitarianism. Many of radical intellectuals later joined the Chinese Communist Party and promoted to the origination of the People's Republic of China in 1949. In 1957 Chinese intellectuals participated in the Hundred Flowers Campaign, demanding China new government's democratic rule and criticism assumption. Mao Zedong envisaged it as criticism infringement and put forth the Anti-Rightist Movement and intellectuals from many universities were named as rightists and sent into banishment. This position of Mao encouraged the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976.

Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms and broken out clashes incited the intellectuals to assist the reform for the sake of knowledge and talent appreciation. In the 1980s many Chinese intellectuals displeased by China's economic weakness and the ultra-left believes of the Cultural Revolution adhered to the pursuit of freedom and democracy. The 1980s can be characterized as the second enlightenment era with a prevailing conviction that the reforms had not gone far enough consequently culminating in 1989 in the June 4th Incident.

This time cried out for intellectuals to exercise control and perfectionism and Chinese scholars were tender owing to the specific political regime and discontinuity with the Confucian scholarly tradition. Until Chinese scholars can express readiness to be responsible, they may not be subject to the autonomy and academic freedom that have been part of the Western tradition. While the Confucian classics are now being reintroduced into the curriculum, it is not clear whether this will lead to a renaissance of China's tradition of intellectual authority and a high degree of social responsibility.

Intellectuals and media

Bourdieu believes that the independence of intellectual sphere is the concernment postulate for an intellectual to search for the autonomy allowing for the cultural sphere power variation, including the media penetrating various spheres. The lack of autonomy would bring about the controversies and decline of the intellectual engagement, because such engagement would not be independent and powerful under the powerful intervention of other spheres.

When a public intellectual who primary belongs to the academic or other professional sphere enters into the journalistic sphere, his autonomy is corroded by the economic force of the media and its structure. The public intellectual's interplay with the community today pretty much leans towards the mass media. The intellectuals can partake of discussions in media, be interviewed, be invited to salons, support civil movements, but these activities cannot overcome the massive productive force of media.

The presence of public intellectuals in media mitigates collection of cultural capital or authority on certain expertise sphere in order to attract audience. The public intellectuals argue that they speak for the people, a classless term of binary opposition between the people and the government and play the role of people's representative in opposition to "institutionalized intellectuals," who speak for the government.

Therefore, the public concern of those intellectuals usually builds their reputation by criticizing government and its ideology. Every cause of social issues could be traced by those intellectuals to the dominant power of the government, while actions or speeches of particular social groups of the civil society are always presumed by them to be the people's voice, which is, of course, correct. This binary opposition legitimates the public intellectual as some objective observer who could act in a position out of the binary opposition structure and guard people's interest without self-interest.

The term "public intellectual" is particularly questionable in China, where it usually links to the ideological dissidents rather than mere engagers from academia. Moreover, public intellectuals today act generally in a similar way by challenging governmental authority and its power by means of calling institutional reform. Simultaneously, they also question the power of the mass and try to "enlighten" them with democratic culture. Intellectual news sometimes could trigger social discussion on some problems, but it also might drive public attention from some more urgent problems to some depolitized issues that are usually about the symbolic power of the intellectuals. Gao 2012, p. 177-180.

Who is Liu Xiaobo?

Liu Xiaobo The Nobel Prizes 2010, Editor Karl Grandin, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 2011 Liu Xiaobo - Biographical, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015), a prominent independent intellectual in China, was born on December 28, 1955 in Changchun city, Jilin Province. He received a Bachelor's Degree in literature from Jilin University, and a Master's and PhD Degree from Beijing Normal University, where he also worked as a teacher.

In April 1989, he abandoned his post of a visiting scholar at Columbia University and returned to Beijing to participate in the 1989 Democracy Movement. On June 2, Liu Xiaobo took part in a hunger strike on Tiananmen Square remonstrating against martial law and calling upon peaceful negotiations between the students and the government.

In the early morning of June 4, 1989 he tried to convince the students to leave Tiananmen Square. After the implemented drastic measures, Liu Xiaobo was sent to Beijing's Qincheng Prison until January 1991, when he was accused of "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement" but dispensed from punishment.

In 1996, he was condemned to three years of Reeducation-Through-Labour on charges of "rumor-mongering and slander" and "disturbing social order" after drafting the "Anti-Corruption Proposals" and letters appealing for official reconsideration of drastic measures implemented on June Fourth.

On December 8, 2008, Liu Xiaobo was withdrawn from his home in Beijing and seized by the Beijing police, and on December 25, 2009 he was criminated of "inciting subversion of state power." By early March 2010, more than 600 co-signatories of Charter 08 signed an online "statement of shared responsibility" with Liu Xiaobo for his "crime".

Liu Xiaobo is a longstanding protector of political reform and human rights in China and a candid censurer of the Chinese communist regime; who has been arrested, put under confinement to quarters and incarcerate many times for his writing and activism. Liu Xiaobo is a drafter and a key proponent of Charter 08.

Charter 08

In my opinion the manifest is an example of a utopian belief that could gain a lot of compassion amongst the same strata as an attempt to make the mass see who in particular possesses power of persuasion and who could influence times Marinelli 2012, p. 427..

The fundamental principles as described in Charter 08 are:


Freedom is at the core of universal human values. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom in where to live, and the freedoms to strike, to demonstrate, and to protest, among others, are the forms that freedom takes. Without freedom, China will always remain far from civilized ideals.

Human rights.

Human rights are not bestowed by a state. Every person is born with inherent rights to dignity and freedom. The government exists for the protection of the human rights of its citizens. The exercise of state power must be authorized by the people. The succession of political disasters in China's recent history is a direct consequence of the ruling regime's disregard for human rights.


The integrity, dignity, and freedom of every person-regardless of social station, occupation, sex, economic condition, ethnicity, skin color, religion, or political belief are the same as those of any other. Principles of equality before the law and equality of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights must be upheld.


Republicanism, which holds that power should be balanced among different branches of government and competing interests should be served, resembles the traditional Chinese political ideal of "fairness in all under heaven." It allows different interest groups and social assemblies, and people with a variety of cultures and beliefs, to exercise democratic self-government and to deliberate in order to reach peaceful resolution of public questions on a basis of equal access to government and free and fair competition.


The most fundamental principles of democracy are that the people are sovereign and the people select their government. Democracy has these characteristics: (1) Political power begins with the people and the legitimacy of a regime derives from the people. (2) Political power is exercised through choices that the people make. (3) The holders of major official posts in government at all levels are determined through periodic competitive elections. (4) While honoring the will of the majority, the fundamental dignity, freedom, and human rights of minorities are protected. In short, democracy is a modern means for achieving government truly "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Constitutional rule.

Constitutional rule is rule through a legal system and legal regulations to implement principles that are spelled out in a constitution. It means protecting the freedom and the rights of citizens, limiting and defining the scope of legitimate government power, and providing the administrative apparatus necessary to serve these ends. Text of Charter 08, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)

And of course it was impossible not to demonstrate the castle building being the remarkable characteristic feature of the interests as advocated by Charter 08:

1. A New Constitution.

We should recast our present constitution, rescinding its provisions that contradict the principle that sovereignty resides with the people and turning it into a document that genuinely guarantees human rights, authorizes the exercise of public power, and serves as the legal underpinning of China's democratization. The constitution must be the highest law in the land, beyond violation by any individual, group, or political party.

2. Separation of powers.

We should construct a modern government in which the separation of legislative, judicial, and executive power is guaranteed. We need an Administrative Law that defines the scope of government responsibility and prevents abuse of administrative power. Government should be responsible to taxpayers. Division of power between provincial governments and the central government should adhere to the principle that central powers are only those specifically granted by the constitution and all other powers belong to the local governments.

3. Legislative democracy.

Members of legislative bodies at all levels should be chosen by direct election, and legislative democracy should observe just and impartial principles.

4. An Independent Judiciary.

The rule of law must be above the interests of any particular political party and judges must be independent. We need to establish a constitutional Supreme Court and institute procedures for constitutional review. As soon as possible, we should abolish all of the Committees on Political and Legal Affairs that now allow Communist Party officials at every level to decide politically-sensitive cases in advance and out of court. We should strictly forbid the use of public offices for private purposes.

5. Public Control of Public Servants.

The military should be made answerable to the national government, not to a political party, and should be made more professional. Military personnel should swear allegiance to the constitution and remain nonpartisan. Political party organizations shall be prohibited in the military. All public officials including police should serve as nonpartisans, and the current practice of favoring one political party in the hiring of public servants must end.

6. Guarantee of Human Rights.

There shall be strict guarantees of human rights and respect for human dignity. There should be a Human Rights Committee, responsible to the highest legislative body that will prevent the government from abusing public power in violation of human rights. A democratic and constitutional China especially must guarantee the personal freedom of citizens. No one shall suffer illegal arrest, detention, arraignment, interrogation, or punishment. The system of "Reeducation through Labor" must be abolished.

7. Election of Public Officials.

There shall be a comprehensive system of democratic elections based on "one person, one vote." The direct election of administrative heads at the levels of county, city, province, and nation should be systematically implemented. The rights to hold periodic free elections and to participate in them as a citizen are inalienable.

8. Rural-Urban Equality.

The two-tier household registry system must be abolished. This system favors urban residents and harms rural residents. We should establish instead a system that gives every citizen the same constitutional rights and the same freedom to choose where to live.

9. Freedom to Form Groups.

The right of citizens to form groups must be guaranteed. The current system for registering nongovernment groups, which requires a group to be "approved," should be replaced by a system in which a group simply registers itself. The formation of political parties should be governed by the constitution and the laws, which means that we must abolish the special privilege of one party to monopolize power and must guarantee principles of free and fair competition among political parties.

10. Freedom to Assemble.

The constitution provides that peaceful assembly, demonstration, protest, and freedom of expression are fundamental rights of a citizen. The ruling party and the government must not be permitted to subject these to illegal interference or unconstitutional obstruction.

11. Freedom of Expression.

We should make freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and academic freedom universal, thereby guaranteeing that citizens can be informed and can exercise their right of political supervision. These freedoms should be upheld by a Press Law that abolishes political restrictions on the press. The provision in the current Criminal Law that refers to "the crime of incitement to subvert state power" must be abolished. We should end the practice of viewing words as crimes.

12. Freedom of Religion.

We must guarantee freedom of religion and belief and institute a separation of religion and state. There must be no governmental interference in peaceful religious activities. We should abolish any laws, regulations, or local rules that limit or suppress the religious freedom of citizens. We should abolish the current system that requires religious groups (and their places of worship) to get official approval in advance and substitute for it a system in which registry is optional and, for those who choose to register, automatic.

13. Civic Education.

In our schools we should abolish political curriculums and examinations that are designed to indoctrinate students in state ideology and to instill support for the rule of one party. We should replace them with civic education that advances universal values and citizens' rights, fosters civic consciousness, and promotes civic virtues that serve society.

14. Protection of Private Property.

We should establish and protect the right to private property and promote an economic system of free and fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected in the market.

15. Financial and Tax Reform.

We should establish a democratically regulated and accountable system of public finance that ensures the protection of taxpayer rights and that operates through legal procedures. We need a system by which public revenues that belong to a certain level of government-central, provincial, county or local-are controlled at that level. We need major tax reform that will abolish any unfair taxes, simplify the tax system, and spread the tax burden fairly. Government officials should not be able to raise taxes, or institute new ones, without public deliberation and the approval of a democratic assembly. We should reform the ownership system in order to encourage competition among a wider variety of market participants.

16. Social Security.

We should establish a fair and adequate social security system that covers all citizens and ensures basic access to education, health care, retirement security, and employment.

17. Protection of the Environment.

We need to protect the natural environment and to promote development in a way that is sustainable and responsible to our descendants and to the rest of humanity. This means insisting that the state and its officials at all levels not only do what they must do to achieve these goals, but also accept the supervision and participation of non-governmental organizations.

18. A Federated Republic.

A democratic China should seek to act as a responsible major power contributing toward peace and development in the Asian Pacific region by approaching others in a spirit of equality and fairness. In Hong Kong and Macao, we should support the freedoms that already exist. With respect to Taiwan, we should declare our commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy and then, negotiating as equals, and ready to compromise, seek a formula for peaceful unification. We should approach disputes in the national-minority areas of China with an open mind, seeking ways to find a workable framework within which all ethnic and religious groups can flourish. We should aim ultimately at a federation of democratic communities of China.

19. Truth in Reconciliation.

We should restore the reputations of all people, including their family members, who suffered political stigma in the political campaigns of the past or who have been labeled as criminals because of their thought, speech, or faith. The state should pay reparations to these people. All political prisoners and prisoners of conscience must be released. There should be a Truth Investigation Commission charged with finding the facts about past injustices and atrocities, determining responsibility for them, upholding justice, and, on these bases, seeking social reconciliation. Text of Charter 08, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)

Opinion on Liu Xiaobo case by China Daily

(Also cited by People's Daily and Xinhuanet)

The actual name of the same article as cited by many newspapers of mainland China such as China Daily, People's Daily and Xinhuanet etc. is Who is Liu Xiaobo because after he has been awarded the Nobel Peace prize the public attention was attracted to his very personality. All readers on October 28, 2010 could witness the rough critics towards Liu Xiaobo and even accusations in him making money only and not being concerned about the future of his own country:

Since the mid-1990s, Liu Xiaobo began working for the Democratic China magazine, financed by the National Endowment for Democracy, which is funded by the US government, and has been paid regularly., an overseas news website, published an article saying Liu's salary was $23,004, or 157,600 yuan, according to the exchange rate at that time. Even while he is in prison, Liu got 13,000 yuan every month.

In addition, Liu made money by writing articles for overseas media, criticizing the Chinese government. He also got money from doing interviews with overseas media and the various "prizes" given by western countries.

Doesn't Liu chase after wealth? Let himself speak for this. "The reasons why I deliver speeches are: first, I feel good about myself; second, I need to make money. I won't deliver a speech if I'm not paid fair enough for every hour I speak. Money is a kind of self-evaluation. Your life is opened up to the extent of the amount of money you make. Who is Liu Xiaobo?, 27.10.2010, the article was originally carried in Chinese by, and translated into English by, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)

Then after blaming Liu Xiaobo in money making comes the critique of his credo:

Liu has always proclaimed himself to be a righteous man who participates in "civil rights movement" out of a Chinese citizen's sense of urgency, responsibility and mission. But do his acts match his words?

Doesn't Liu chase after fame? "Even if they do not receive material rewards, those who dare to speak the truth on major public events will receive praise for justice, especially that from grassroots of the Chinese mainland and mainstream international society, and they will gradually rise to fame and public influence," Liu said when receiving the so called "Outstanding Contributor to Democracy Award" in 2003. Liu has been bad-mouthing his own country and his own nation for payment from the West, such as "human rights prize", "democracy contributor prize", and so on. Who is Liu Xiaobo?, 27.10.2010, the article was originally carried in Chinese by, and translated into English by, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)

The newspaper even points out the position of overseas democracy activists towards Liu Xiaobo case:

Those who are familiar with Liu know he is extreme and arrogant. He took part in founding an illegal organization called Independent Chinese Writer Club to form his own clique and press down on dissenters, thus making many enemies within the "Chinese democracy activists" circle and was sued in the United States for embezzlement. As a result, many Chinese "democracy activists" overseas are not happy with him. Who is Liu Xiaobo?, 27.10.2010, the article was originally carried in Chinese by, and translated into English by, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)

And, finally the characteristic of Charter 08 by the China Daily:

"Charter" against Constitution

The financially optimistic Liu works for his employers. He has spared no effort in working for Western anti-China forces since 2005, and drew up the so-called Charter 08 in 2008. By rumor-mongering and libeling, the charter denies the people's democratic dictatorship, socialism and the unitary state structure stipulated in the Chinese Constitution. The charter also entices people to join it, with the intent to alter the political system and overturn the government. Liu's activities has crossed the line of freedom of speech into crime.

The so-called Charter 08 is totally obsolete. Most of it was copied from the "Charter 77". It is totally against the current Chinese Constitution and law, and advocates the total denial of the Party's leadership and the current state power. The charter attempts to push forward the Western political system under the pretense of constitutional amendment and to gradually confuse people's thoughts, and drums for the thought of "violent revolution." Essentially, its ultimate goal is to overturn the Party's leadership and the current government. To carry out such a charter will not only make China a vassal of the West, but would destroy the progress of Chinese society and the welfare of Chinese people, thus the charter has been unanimously applauded by the West. In December 2008, Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison and deprivation of political rights for two years for the crime of agitation aimed at subverting the government. As the West's tool, Liu will be abandoned by the Chinese people. Who is Liu Xiaobo?, 27.10.2010, the article was originally carried in Chinese by, and translated into English by, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)

Opinion on Liu Xiaobo case by South China Morning Post

For depiction the broad range of positive opinions on Liu Xiaobo case by South China Morning Post or Southern People Weekly I have chosen several article, even the names of which are speaking for themselves: Dissident's trial sends message to activists, Silencing opposition and Dissident upbeat on China after Nobel Peace Prize.

The cast-iron nature of the Chinese government and its implacability on Liu Xiaobo case can be witnessed from the following opinion as provided by the newspaper:

China put Liu Xiaobo - one of its most influential dissidents - on trial yesterday for subversion despite strong international protest, sending a chill message to activists daring to question its one-party rule with calls for political reform.

The 21/2-hour trial in Beijing attracted global attention. A dozen foreign countries sent embassy staff to the court, but all were barred from attending the trial.

Liu, co-author of a manifesto that calls for the rule of law and democracy, will be sentenced on Christmas Day. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison for 'inciting subversion of state power'.

The trial at the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court shows an increasingly assertive and confident Beijing that cares little about international criticism, analysts say.

Beijing last week warned Western countries against taking up Liu's case after the US and European Union called for his release.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said such calls amounted to interfering in the country's judiciary. Yu, Verna Dissident's trial sends message to activists, website of South China Morning Post, published: 24 December, 2009, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)

The newspaper is also depicting the atmosphere of support and sympathy:

Police ordered at least a dozen intellectuals who are signatories to the Charter 08 manifesto to stay home, but scores of supporters still turned up in a show of solidarity.

Among them were Ai Weiwei, an artist and co-designer of the iconic Olympic 'Bird's Nest' stadium, and legal scholar and activist Teng Biao. 'If Liu Xiaobo is convicted, we should all face the same charge. We feel that we should share the legal responsibility with him,' Teng told reporters shortly before being detained by police.

Other supporters handed out yellow ribbons and tied them to the crowd control barriers, but police quickly removed the symbols of support. At least five of Liu's supporters were detained. Shijingshan district police confirmed they had detained several people but refused to say what crime they had committed.

...In Hong Kong, about 20 protesters marched to the central government's liaison office in support of Liu. Led by Szeto Wah, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, they chanted slogans and tied yellow ribbons onto the gate of the building. The protesters also left a letter to the Supreme People's Court calling for Liu's release.

Staff of the office quickly removed the letter and the ribbons. Yu, Verna Dissident's trial sends message to activists, website of South China Morning Post, published: 24 December, 2009, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)

Silencing opposition as an instrument of arousing fear in people:

Dozens of supporters of jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo remain under tight surveillance, dissidents and rights groups say. Many dissidents and activists say their movements are being tightly controlled so they cannot travel to Oslo to attend the Nobel Prize ceremony on December 10 in support of Liu.

Some are under house arrest with their phone lines cut. Others are escorted by police whenever they go out and followed constantly. Some were ordered to return to their hometowns, they said.

Christian pro-democracy writer Yu Jie told the South China Morning Post that he had been confined to his house for the past 12 days. Both his and his wife's mobile phone numbers were cut off. 'They [the government] are afraid that the news of Liu Xiaobo's win will spread further and are also afraid that friends like us will go to the award ceremony,' he said. 'I guess [the harassment] will go on until December 10.'

Activist Qi Zhiyong, who lost a leg in the Tiananmen crackdown, was detained at a hostel outside Beijing for two weeks after the prize was announced. He was then taken home and remains under house arrest.

Dissident journalist Gao Yu, a close friend of Liu Xiaobo, has her front door guarded by police, her son said. Yu, Verna Silencing opposition, website of South China Morning Post, published: 11 November, 2010, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)

In the article Dissident upbeat on China after Nobel Peace Prize the South China Morning Post adduces arguments towards Liu Xiaobo case by another dissident, Yang Jianli who was a PhD student in the US when the Tiananmen democracy movement broke out in 1989, went back and witnessed the June 4 crackdown:

Despite his personal experience, Yang remains upbeat about the future of China, he said in an interview after the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony which honoured jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Yang said Chinese were more aware of their rights nowadays and the rights movement was moving rapidly. 'Citizen power has grown really rapidly in China and ordinary people are very different from before. Human rights, universal values have prevailed in people's minds,' said Yang, who organised a delegation of exiled dissidents to be present at the ceremony last month.

Beijing has long adopted heavy-handed tactics towards dissent. Liu was jailed for 11 years on subversion charges for co-drafting Charter 08, a manifesto that calls for the end of one-party rule and sweeping political reforms. Dozens of fellow dissidents and his supporters were subject to various forms of harassment.

Yet Yang believes political changes will take place in the near future. He said Liu's Nobel award, together with the influence of Charter 08, would empower and galvanise the mainland's fledgling rights movement. And although Beijing's immediate reaction to the Nobel Prize was to crack down harder, it would force the authorities to reflect on their harsh attitude towards dissent.

So there will be a point when the Communist Party has no choice but to enter into political negotiations with the people, said Yang, who runs a Washington-based foundation that advocates political transition and supports rights activities on the mainland. 'That will be the first step in transition... Then we'll need a civilian leader like Liu Xiaobo to come forward,' he said enthusiastically. 'I believe it will happen before Liu Xiaobo's 11 years are up.' Yu, Verna Dissident upbeat on China after Nobel Peace Prize, website of South China Morning Post, published: 01 January, 2011, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015)


After getting an insight into the problem and looking back at the past I can conclude that the role of Chinese public intellectuals including Liu Xiaobo and their interaction between each other as well as using the media and instruments of social networking cannot be simply considered as rebellious or in opposition to the state policy. Many psychological aspects can be seen through the problem as the pressure of compassion and seeking for twin souls as solidarity between a group of people drawn together by one ideal and sometimes even utopia as it always was within the circle of public intellectuals.

With liberalization as a consequence of democratization it became simpler to evoke a response from the masses and even rule them by charismatic behavior and giving an aethereal hope urging that one person can rule the world or make changes to the existent political system and values of the government.

The petition system implemented in China as salvation and questing for the final decision could really inspire the masses to follow the imprisoned dissidents' ideas and even go out for the strikes and infuse them with the feeling of being significant and having the power.

Hong Kong as cradle of incipient plentiful source of illumination for rebellious thoughts and its press organs such the South China Morning Post shall always lend support to the liberalist ideas as those suppressed by the mainland China and their press organs as dramatically illustrated by several articles on Liu Xiaobo case.


1. Gao, Jason. A Bourdieusian study of the use of media by Chinese public intellectuals. In Journal for Communication and Culture 2, no. 2 (winter 2012): 176-192.

2. Marinelli, Maurizio. On the public commitment of intellectuals in late socialist China. In Theor Soc (2012) 41:425-449.

3. Text of Charter 08, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015).

4. The Nobel Prizes 2010, Editor Karl Grandin, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 2011 Liu Xiaobo - Biographical, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015).

5. Who is Liu Xiaobo?, 27.10.2010, the article was originally carried in Chinese by, and translated into English by, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015).

6. Who is Liu Xiaobo?, 28.10.2010, the article was originally carried in Chinese by, and translated into English by, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015).

7. Who is Liu Xiaobo?, 28.10.2010, the article was originally carried in Chinese by, and translated into English by, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015).

8. Yu, Verna Silencing opposition, website of South China Morning Post, published: 11 November, 2010, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015).

9. Yu, Verna Dissident's trial sends message to activists, website of South China Morning Post, published: 24 December, 2009, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015).

10. Yu, Verna Dissident upbeat on China after Nobel Peace Prize, website of South China Morning Post, published: 01 January, 2011, available HTTP: <> (accessed February 12, 2015).

11. Zha, Qiang. "Academic Freedom and Public Intellectuals in China." In International Higher Education, No 58. Boston: College Center for International Higher Education, 2010.


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