Yesterday, the world rejoiced at the news of Liu Xiaobo's being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010. In China, however, the cyber police and media censors swung into frantic action to prevent word of this important event from being communicated to its 1.4 billion citizens. They cordoned off the area where Liu's wife, Liu Xia, lives, and then whisked her off to an undisclosed location so that the press and television could not interview her. Liu himself may still not know that he is the Peace Prize laureate. And anyone who celebrates the award or mentions Liu's name (certainly not approvingly) is likely to end up in prison just like him. Even Han Han, China's most formidable blogger, who seems to be able to say more than anyone else about contemporary life in China (but always most subtly and indirectly), was extremely careful about how he broached the subject: see here and here. (You must look very carefully to see what Han Han wrote).
Of course, the people of China are not stupid, nor are they fools, so they invariably find out what is going on and devise means for discussing it.
Here are some of the circumlocutions for Liu Xiaobo that have been swirling around the Chinese Internet:
Middle Sinitic 中古汉语：Lieu Hëux-pua
Wu 吴语：Leu Shiau-pu
Cantonese 粤语：Lau Hiu-bo
Minnan 闽南语：Lâu Hiáu-po
Hainan 海南话：Lao Rao-bo
Dalian 大连话：Liu Xiao-ber
Chongqing 重庆话：Liew Ciaor-bo
National Romanization 国语罗马字：Lyou Sheaubuo
Wade-Giles 威妥玛式：Liu Hsiao-Po
English 英语：MINI BALL LIU or DAWN WAVE LIU
German 德语：Liu Schaubo
French 法语：Lïu Chopo
Spanish 西班牙语：Liu Giaobo
Italian 意大利语：Liu Sciopo
Romanian 罗马尼亚语：Liu Şeapo
Russian 俄语：Лю Сяобо
Czech 捷克语：Liou Siaopo
Arabic 阿拉伯语：ليو قزايبو
汉字文化圈 other East Asian languages:
Japanese 日语：りゅう しょうは/ リュウ シャオボー
Korean 韩语：류 샤오보
Vietnamese 越南语：Lưu Hiểu Ba
Esperanto 世界语：Ljoŭ Ŝjaŭ-Bŭo
Anything to avoid writing "Liu Xiaobo," "刘晓波" (simplified), "劉曉波" (traditional), Liú Xiǎobō (Pinyin), because these would immediately be picked up by the cyber police.
Before closing, it is my duty to explain how to pronounce Liu Xiaobo's name, since I've heard it mangled by most spokesmen and commentators in recent days. Here is the "textbook" IPA transcription for the Modern Standard Mandarin pronunciation of the three syllables of Liu Xiaobo's name:
/ljou/ (tone 2, "35″)
/ɕjɑu/ (tone 3, "214″ or "21″)
/pɔ/ (tone 1, "55″)
If you don't know how to read off IPA, then here are "spellers" for the three syllables:
LEE-OWE (pronounced as one syllable); many people are confused by the final "u," which doesn't sound like a "u" at all, but rather like a long "o".
SHE-OW (pronounced as one syllable).
BO (like "boy" with the "y" lopped off)
And here are a couple of recordings. The first one is a woman from Taiwan:
The second one is a speaker from Beijing:
[Thanks to Jiahong Yuan, Zhao Lu, Jing Wen, Sophie Wei, Rebecca Fu, Brendan O'Kane, and Mi You]