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The Bobs: Best Blog Award to be presented to an unlikely patriot

Li Chengpeng didn’t start out wanting to make a difference. In his past life he was a cool and popular soccer announcer. He was also a believer in the Chinese government. Now he’s a little older and has become an unlikely patriot. He has achieved a certain celebrity status in China, not for being a good-looking sportscaster, but rather for his daring social criticism. Five years ago Li became a online activist fighting against the illusions propagated by the Chinese government. And he is definitely still cool. His blog has over 7 million fans who call him “Big Eyes Li”. He has a special influence on the young and media savvy in China who are working on creating a new information generation that is nipping at the edges of a civil society. He is also the 2013 Bobs winner for best blog.

“I view the Bobs awards as one of the few really important prizes I have been given in the past years,” said Li in an interview with DW after the prize was announced. “The Bobs is precious to me because I don’t receive any awards in China. As you might know, authors who speak out the truth have a rough time.”

A free press is a vital ingredient if economic development is to improve the well-being of Chinese people. This will not be easy, and support from places like DW plays an important role.

Li will be in Germany next Tuesday to accept the award at the 2013 Global Media Forum in Bonn and he is looking forward to meeting like minded bloggers. “I would like to speak with them about how they managed to break through their walls,” he said.

Representatives from the five other jury winners will join Li as a part of the ceremony.  Also coming out of China is the winner for best innovation,,  a play on words from the Chinese microblogging website SinaWeibo. FreeWeibo provides access to content that has been filtered by Chinese government censors – and the award will be presented to Carl Lee in Bonn.  Also receiving their awards will be  Stephanie Hankey for the Most Creative and Original, Kodjo  Kiki Kouassi for the Reporters Without Borders Award, Houda Lamqaddam for Best Social Activism and Acter Mahfuza for the Global Media Forum Award.

The quake that changed his life
Crumbling walls are what changed Li from conformist to crusader. After witnessing the destructive aftermath of an earthquake in 2008, he was deeply moved by the loss of life and was compelled to independently investigate construction codes. He discovered many buildings were built using sub-standard materials except for one school that didn’t collapse because it was actually built properly. This inspired his first essay, “The truth about the amazing survival of students and teachers at the Longhan primary school.”

Using his typical sarcasm Li has said about his life: “before 2008, I was an idiot.” The earthquake collapsed Li’s illusions and he realized that truly being a patriot meant working for the well-being of his fellow citizens and providing an example for others. Since then he has been working to tell the truth about the small things that can have a big impact.

“He gives young people a very good example of how to influence the future cause of China,” said Chinese journalist and Bobs jury member, Hu Yong. “The award shows that the jury members also think that a blogger like Li Chengpeng can influence millions of young Chinese people in making them aware of censorship, to be more free, more open and to be more active in the political process.”

In January thousands of fans lined the street for the release of his new book, a collection of essays titled, “The whole world knows”. At the event he was forbidden by authorities from communicating with the audience in any way but he managed to sneak across one message – “I love you all”, written in marker on his t-shirt.

Find out more about the Bobs and all of this year’s winners at


2013-06-11 | 9:45



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DW recognizes the world’s best bloggers in Bonn

Blogging and social activism were on the agenda last night when Deutsche Welle (DW) presented prizes to the winners of its international blog awards, The Bobs. “Best Blog” went to Iranian journalist and blogger Arash Sigarchi, and his blog Window of Anguish.  “When it comes to freedom, I believe the situation has worsened since I left Iran in 2008,” said Sigarchi, who reports in Persian and English about social and political topics in his homeland, especially about the state of human rights.

You can find a wrap-up of the entire event in the press release.


2012-06-27 | 8:20



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