It is clear that the Chinese government is not happy about the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. However, it is beyond normal people's imagination that the propaganda machine would turn its resentment into the censorship of the terms “award” and “prize”.
According to the latest general notice from the Central Propaganda Bureau regarding news and propaganda in 2011, all news and commercial websites should not initiate any kind of nation-wide selection (listings and awards) of news, people or events. The background of this notice is related to a series of events last year:
Firstly, Chinese political dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
Secondly, the Time Weekly announced a list of “100 Most Influential People of Our Time”, which included food safety activist Zhao Lianhai and several signers of the Charter 08, including Cui Weiping and Xu Youyu. Peng Xiaoyun, who was in charge of the list, was forced to take a leave from the magazine.
Apart from the above two controversial events, there were numerous listings and awards organized by media organizations last December to serve as the 2010 year end roundup. For example, on 17 December 2010, the Southern Metropolis Daily issued 23 awards to artists, citizens, business leaders, designers, youths and etc.
To stop media organizations from promoting “illegitimate” and “un-orthodox” achievements and practices in the civil society, the government banned Southern Weekend‘s listing of best news report, “Salute to the Media 2010″, last month. Moreover, the Central Propaganda Bureau recently also decides that governmental and party authorities should have a monopoly position to issue “awards” and “prizes”.
In the actual implementation of the general notice, the Chinese character “獎”, meaning “award” or “prize”, is banned in major media outlets and public events without approvals by the relevant authorities.
To challenge the absurd censorship measure, independent media worker Wang Xiaoshan launched a “2010 Wang Xiaoshan News Award” via his blog. There are in total 6 awards and the results were announced on 12 January 2011 via Twitter.
【2】八爪鱼奖：环球时报英文版记者：Wen tao、Song Shengxia 。获奖报道：Twenty artists demonstrate in downtown Beijing ，http://sinaurl.cn/h0yWQ
【3】稻草人奖：河南商报记者 王文凯。获奖报道：76岁菜农遭执法者掌掴 称卖红薯系为儿子挣药费，http://news.sina.com.cn/s/p/2010-11-10/052621444610.shtml
【4】水产蟹奖：成都商报 前记者 殷玉生。获奖理由：成都商报记者殷玉生因报道河北大学飙车案，被自动离职，并遭莫名群殴。
【5】乌鸦嘴奖：时代周报 评论部 彭晓芸。获奖理由：时代周报2010年评论版相当给力，超乎期待。
For individuals and dissidents, they can resist the Propaganda Bureau by this kind of sarcastic behavioral art performance. However, for the entertainment industry, it is hit hard by the new instruction. Prominent film director Feng Xiaogang describes the awkward situation in a recent directors’ award occasion and complains in his Sina Microblog:
Feng's micro-blog has received thousands of feedbacks and echoes. This is one of the most classic examples of how the Propaganda Bureau politicizes the apolitical sector with its absurd censorship practices.