Archive for 2011年1月

Liu Xiaobo biography events

一月 17, 2011

Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident sentenced to 11 years on Dec.25th 2009 for “inciting subversion“, was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in absentia in Oslo on Dec. 10th, 2010. Liu’s old friend and Independent Chinese PEN co-founder Bei Ling has written a biography of Liu Xiaobo. Bei Ling started off from an essay he wrote in June 1989 in New York, after Liu Xiaobo had been arrested in Beijing in the aftermath of the massacre throughout the city, as People’s Liberation Army troops forced their way through the streets blocked by protesters in the last phase of the demonstrations on Tian’anmen Square. Liu Xiaobo had returned to China from New York and led a hunger strike of intellectuals on the square, supporting the students and Beijing residents in their demands for civil liberties. Bei Ling‘s essay from 1989 was re-published in Chinese in Hongkong and Taiwan in June 2009, and in the German newspaper FAZ on October 12th, 2010, a few days after the Nobel Peace prize announcement from Oslo. Soon after, the German publisher Riva expressed interest in a biography of Liu. Bei Ling had recently written a literary memoir of his years a Beijing underground poet in the 1980s and a literary magazine editor, shuttling between China and foreign countries, in the 1990s. Liu Xiaobo and other old friends such as Liao Yiwu are important figures in Bei Ling’s memoir, to be published by Suhrkamp in Germany this year. So Bei Ling was ready to write his biography of Liu Xiaobo on short notice. It was a crazy idea, but it worked. We worked around the clock in November 2010, and in early December the book hit the shelves. In the first week, from Dec. 9 to 16, it sold 2500 volumes, according to the publisher. Since then, Bei Ling’s biography of Liu Xiaobo has been reviewed in many newspapers, magazines, on TV and radio stations etc. throughout Germany and in neighbouring countries. This month (January 2011), according to the publisher, the book has started to appear on the Spiegel magazine’s bestseller list, the standard list in the German-speaking realm. On January 11th, 2011, a symposion with Bei Ling, Prof. Weigelin-SchwiedrzikProf. Findeisen, Prof. Zhu Jiaming, Dr. Felix Wemheuer and others was held at Vienna University and met with great interest among students and teachers from various faculties. See here …

Liu Xiaobo 劉曉波 discussion at Vienna University 1/11/11, featuring Liu Xiaobo biographer Bei Ling 貝嶺, Prof. Weigelin 魏格林, Prof. Findeisen 馮鐵, Dr. Felix Wemheuer 文浩, Prof. Zhu Jiaming 朱嘉明 and many others. Felix Wemheuer, noted for research into the Great Leap Forward famine, moderated the lively discussion following Bei Ling's lecture.

Liu Xiaobo biographer Bei Ling at Vienna University on Jan. 11th, 2011. Photo: Angelika Burgsteiner

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