Liu Xiaobo and translating his bio

Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 2:57 PM
To: <>
Subject: MCLC: reactions to Nobel prize (42)

From: Jacqueline and Martin Winter
Subject: reactions to Nobel prize (42)

David Kelly’s article in the East Asia Forum on 劉曉波 Liu Xiaobo and universal

values addresses important points.
(See also
Kelly says the award shows “that China, a nation that once led the world in the enunciation of universal values, is
capable of returning to its ancient role”. Poetic. And fitting, if you’ve read some of Liu’s poems. “Liu has made the work of the forces of tyranny
much harder, and the prospects of the forces of political reform much brighter.” 但願!Dan yuan, as they say in Chinese. Let’s hope so. Or ‘you wish’,
whatever you think. Maybe you think “forces of tyranny” sounds pathetic, rather like “axis of evil” or something. Well, it’s always surprising to
hear or read extensive quotes from politburo meetings or National People’s Congress sessions and such. Two days ago I stumbled upon this link:
> The 鄧小平 Deng Xiaoping quotes do make me think he was a very unabashed tyrant
> (not very singular among tyrants, maybe). Before, I had smiled hearing
> Chinese in exile say 獨裁者鄧小平, “the dictator Deng” instead of just “Deng”. It seemed
> unnecessary. Well, as I said, read the quotes, and tell me what you think.
> There is another part:
> Even more literature references in this one, many more in fact. And in this
> part, I stumbled on the name 王希哲 Wang Xizhe. Just forestle or snout (or google
> or yahoo) Wang Xizhe 1974 and see what you get. My first result was a CS
> Monitor article from 1997
> and the second one was a German article, also from 1997, mentioning Wang
> Xizhe and Liu Xiaobo together
Liu, as it turns out, met Wang in 1996, in 蘭圃 Lanpu in a northern part of
廣州 Guangzhou. They drafted a document addressed to the 中共 CCP and to the 國民黨 KMT
(Guomindang, reigning in Taiwan) together (this is not from the German article).

Liu Xiaobo has written many books, articles, poems, essays and so
forth. He was imprisoned, like many others, for articles and manifestos on
sensitive topics. Again and again. This is why he received the Nobel Peace
prize – for peacefully insisting on political action. Like Martin Luther
King, like Aung San Suu Kyi, like Havel and Mandela. Yes, there have been
times when the prize seemed meaningless or a very bad joke – like when they
chose Kissinger, as 王超華 Wang Chaohua has said in the China Beat. And Obama was
rather embarrassed last year. But this time, as I said, they chose a person
> who has become a symbol for peaceful insistence on political participation,
> on civil rights. Yes, Chinese in exile are notoriously at odds with each
> other, as the German article from 1997 also shows. 方理智 Fang Lizhi, a senior
> scientist who called for civil rights and the release of Wei Jingsheng on
> January 6th, 1989, supports Liu Xiaobo – see his CS Monitor article from
> last month:
魏京生 Wei Jingsheng, from the same generation as Wang Xizhe, does not support Liu
> Xiaobo. See, for example, Wei’s interview in French at
> It is refreshing to think in other languages, on sensitive issues or
> trivialities. Like Romanian, where ‘understand’ is ‘inteleg’, sounds very
> intelligent, doesn’t it? And copies are children. And so forth. But let us
> return to the question of support or opposition. To and of Liu Xiaobo, to
> and of China, to and of peace. Freedom. Democracy. Civil rights. Some people
> won’t listen when you say Liu was imprisoned for Charta 08, and won the
> Peace Prize for Charta 08. And his many other manifestos and peaceful
> political actions. They just won’t listen, and continue to speak of 300
> years of colonialism. They have no concept of irony and sarcasm, as David
> Kelly says. It doesn’t even help if they read this article from the reporter 金中 Jin Zhong
> who interviewed Liu Xiaobo in 1988, and puts the famous 300-years-quote in
> context:
> It doesn’t help when they read Bei Ling’s essay, which I posted here (and
> which has appeared in Spanish and German, and originally in Chinese, in HK
> and Taiwan, last June of Dragon Boat Festival Day. See
> It doesn’t help, no matter what they read. They will insist on 300 years,
> and invading Iraq. Especially the latter, if they’re Western. And married to
> China. And then they will tell you that people who died when they were
> deported from Western countries should have gotten the Peace prize. Well,
> yes, ever since I have moved back to Vienna after 10 years in Beijing and
> other times in other cities in China and elsewhere, I have felt
> embarrassment and shame for xenophobic laws and practices even more than
> before. Does that mean THE WEST should just shut up? It was a little funny
> to see people like Prof. Kubin jump up and down as if they owned the Nobel,
> after Gao Xingjian was chosen ten years ago. Rather like loud protests and
> angry press releases because your favourite director didn’t get the Oscar
> for foreign movies after all this time. Yes of course, literature is
> political. Whether you like it or not, especially in China. I can say a
> thousand times that I’ve read Gao’s novels in the original all the way
> through, and found his language in there very difficult, but very rewarding
> and rather exceptional, comparable to Ge Fei in his modernist phase,
> perhaps. The guy who’s married to China will always retort that since the
> Nobel for Gao has a political dimension, THE WEST shouldn’t do things like
> that. Nothing helps, really. Everything has a political dimension.
> Especially art, sometimes. Which is clear, if you look at Liao Yiwu, and if
> you study contemporary Chinese history. Oh well …
> By the way, I am translating a bio of Liu Xiaobo. That’s why I stumble on
> people like Wang Xizhe. Or Wang Bingzhang. And Hou Dejian. Or Nicholas Jose,
> Linda Jaivin and Jamie FlorCruz. And Geremie Barme, of course. And Tu
> Wei-ming. And so on. Last year, on Christmas Day, a Chinese general I spoke
> with brought up Liu Xiaobo. I was rather surprised. He was embarrassed and
> at a loss. But then he told me that he had invited Liu Xiaobo for a lecture
> at his university in China, when he was a student. It had been his job as a
> student monitor or something. To sentence a philosophy and literature
> professor to 11 years on Christmas Day for a manifesto on civil rights and
> political change does have surprising reverberations. And when he receives
> the Nobel Peace prize it’s rather like some kind of retribution, maybe.
> Wanbao, wanbao! That’s what the newspaper boys shout every evening. In
> Chongqing, it did sound more like wan bao, in Beijing it sounded more like
> wan bo. Wan bao, wan bao! Shang you shan bao, e you e bao. Bu shi bu bao,
> shijian wei dao. Retribution comes late, sometimes. Many times. But not this
> time. So yeah, I’m glad. This prize for Liu has brought work for me. My
> Chinese friends are rather embarrassed, mostly. They are no activists, and
> want to be able to go back to China, at least every once in a while, and
> lead a normal life, as best as possible. So they don’t celebrate. After all,
> it’s not like he has been released.
> Martin

一条回应 to “Liu Xiaobo and translating his bio”

  1. Liu Xiaobo biography events « 為世博服務 Says:

    […] 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 […]


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: 徽标

您正在使用您的 账号评论。 注销 /  更改 )

Facebook photo

您正在使用您的 Facebook 账号评论。 注销 /  更改 )

Connecting to %s

这个站点使用 Akismet 来减少垃圾评论。了解你的评论数据如何被处理

%d 博主赞过: