Published December 10, 2010
Liu Xiaobo was not in Oslo to receive his Nobel Peace Prize today; he was in a Chinese prison, serving an 11-year sentence for “subverting state power” after urging changes to Beijing’s one-party communist system.
A celebrated violinist from Newton, Lynn Chang, performed in Liu’s stead. As reported in the Boston Globe today, Chang’s decision to play was not easy.
So while Chang, whose father immigrated to America in 1949, was “thrilled and honored” to be invited to the Nobel ceremony, he was also aware that there might be repercussions: The Chinese government could bar him from visiting relatives still living in China, for example. Or it could forbid Chinese music students from studying at the schools with which Chang is affiliated, which include Harvard, MIT, Boston University, and the Boston and New England conservatories.
But when Chang consulted with family members and school officials, he says, the near-unanimous consensus was: “Absolutely, you should do this.”
I captured audio of Chang’s performance Friday, courtesy of The Associated Press:
Listen as the Nobel medal and diploma are presented to an absent Liu and placed on his chair. Chang’s performance follows, at 1:45 in.
- More from the Globe: Songs for an absent hero