Beijing Blocks Coverage Of Nobel Ceremony In China on Friday, coverage of the Nobel ceremony for Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo was blocked. Melissa Block talks with NPR's Rob Gifford, who is in Shanghai.

Beijing Blocks Coverage Of Nobel Ceremony

Beijing Blocks Coverage Of Nobel Ceremony

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In China on Friday, coverage of the Nobel ceremony for Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo was blocked. Melissa Block talks with NPR's Rob Gifford, who is in Shanghai.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Now to China, where authorities have been actively blocking coverage of today's Nobel ceremony and clamping down on dissidents.

NPR's Rob Gifford joins us from Shanghai. And, Rob, if you wanted to follow today's news and the ceremony, could you?

ROB GIFFORD: Well, you could follow the government propaganda condemning it. But if you wanted to get anything else, it'd be very difficult indeed. There has been a bit of a buzz on the Internet and some of the chat rooms, but often, they get deleted as fast as those comments can be put up.

The international broadcast CNN and BBC have been blocked. They were blocked at the exact time that the Nobel ceremony started. So it really has been across the board here.

BLOCK: And, Rob, as we mentioned, at the same time, a widespread crackdown on dissidents. What are you hearing?

GIFFORD: Well, that's right. Even people I have spoken to in the last few days have been taken away from their homes. Previously, they were being kept under house arrest, as indeed Liu Xiaobo's wife was and still is.

The weird thing about all this, combining these two issues, though, is that by having this response, the Chinese government has provoked an interest in Liu Xiaobo which was not there before. Previously, no one had even heard of him. And now, you can be sure - some people will believe the government propaganda that it's an anti-Chinese, Western-organized plot, but others will be searching out Liu Xiaobo's political writings for the first time.

BLOCK: Okay, Rob. Thanks so much.

GIFFORD: Thank you, Melissa.

BLOCK: That's NPR's Rob Gifford in Shanghai, talking about China's response to today's awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia to Liu Xiaobo.

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