Southern Metropolis Daily's front page.
Southern Metropolis Daily's front page.

How to show support for Liu Xiaobo…in China

Although China continues to censor references to imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel peace prize in the news and online, some have been finding creative ways to express support for him. An outspoken newspaper published a front-page picture featuring empty chairs on Sunday, in what appears to be a covert reference to the seat left vacant for Liu during Friday’s ceremony in Oslo. 

China Digital Times reports:

“The front cover of the December 12th Southern Metropolis Daily featured a headline, ‘2010 Asian Para Games Are Ready to Start Tonight in Guangzhou,’ but the background of the photo shows three empty chairs and five cranes.  In Chinese, ‘he'(crane) is a homonym for ‘congratulations’ and the first character of ‘peace.’

Meanwhile, according to Danwei, microblog users have been describing other famous Lius they admire in terms that evoke Liu Xiaobo himself:

From @wentommy (文涛):
The person I most admire has the surname Liu. Despite a prison term, this wonderful individual has won all kinds of international awards, and is an idol to many people. Her name is Liu Xiaoqing (刘晓庆).

Unfortunately, until information officials relax their controls, references like these will resonate only for people knowledgeable enough to circumvent Internet censorship in the first place.