Liu Xiaobo: The Internet is God’s Present to China

Imprisoned writer is set to receive the prestigious 2009 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. From The Times:

Kwame Anthony Appiah, president of the PEN American Centre, said: “The liberties that allow all of us to make meaningful lives have always depended, alas, on those who are willing, like Liu Xiaobo, to put their own freedom at risk. His consistent self-sacrifice for the cause of in China should inspire all freedom’s friends around the world. I am filled with admiration – indeed, with awe – each time I read about the extraordinary things he has done.”

Mr Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, told The Times: “I miss him. I just want him to come home.”

Liu wrote an op-ed in The Times today about the powerful influence the Internet has had on his life and on China:

With the censorship here, my essays can only be published overseas. Before using the computer, my handwritten essays were difficult to correct and the cost of sending them was high. To avoid the articles being intercepted, I often went from the west side of the city to the east side where I had a foreign friend who owned a fax machine.

The internet has made it easier to obtain information, contact the outside world and submit articles to overseas media. It is like a super-engine that makes my writing spring out of a well. The internet is an information channel that the Chinese dictators cannot fully censor, allowing people to speak and communicate, and it offers a platform for spontaneous organisation.

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