Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speech’

CHANG‘AN POESIEFEST IN DARMSTADT 达姆施塔特 – 法蘭克福長安詩歌節

十月 19, 2015

Akzente3_24960_MR1.indd

《法蘭克福長安詩歌節》

法兰克福长安诗歌节
这次没有中国人
我朗诵廖亦武
新的长诗《监狱°寺庙》
德语版
还有我自己的《祈祷》
其他人拉手风琴
吹长笛
唱北欧拉脱维亚民歌
像中国街口
城市高速底下
几位老工人拉手风琴
两三个人
四个人
以诗歌的名义
以音乐的名义
团结起来
干杯
我也在他们桌下
中间
耶稣是这样说的吗?

2015.10.19

HORIZON

a smokestack
a chimney
a phone antenna
and a big tree
form lady liberty
maybe not

MW October 2015

Frankfurt3Bahnhof

BEI THOMAS & CORNELIA:Chang’an Poesiefest

wo 2 oder 3
oder auch 4
einander zuprosten
im namen der poesie
der musik
da bin ich mitten unter dem tisch

chang’an poesiefestival
diesmal ohne chinesen
in darmstadt bei frankfurt
ich lese liao yiwu
das neue lang-gedicht
MEIN GEFÄNGNIS. MEIN TEMPEL
aus der zeitschrift akzente
herausgegeben von herta müller
und mein GEBET
thomas spielt akkordeon
eine art knopfharmonika
cornelia querflöte
hauptsächlich arbeiterlieder
jackie singt lettische weisen
wir singen mit
fast wie wenn in china
unter der stadtautobahn
an einem neuen kanal
wo eine fabrik war
und jetzt teure wohnblöcke stehen
zwei, drei musik machen

chang’an poesiefestival
kommt natürlich aus xi’an
von yi sha gegründet
mit qin bazi & xidu heshang
& vielen anderen

chang’an poesiefestival
das gibt es an vielen anderen orten
nur nicht ohne yi sha
insgesamt über 200mal

private treffen mit poesie
das hat etwas von freiheit
es kommt mehr zur sprache
als auf großer bühne

wir haben auch so etwas gemacht

MW Oktober 2015

KOLIK

HORIZONT

ein rauchfang
ein schornstein
ein handymast
und ein großer baum
eine freiheitsstatue
oder auch nicht

MW Oktober 2015

《早上风景》

一条烟囱
一棵树

是一条烟囱吗?
一条电话天线
是这样说的吗?

一条电话天线
和一棵树

自由女神
也许不

2015.10.19

KOLIK 001

EIN GEDICHT

ein gedicht eine
berührung wen du
berührst weisst du nicht

MW Oktober 2015

jackie leaving

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And one more Happy New Year of the Horse

一月 31, 2014

yanli_horse

YAN LI! Yesterday I posted his THREE POEMS FROM THE 1980s. Prominent words and themes in GIVE IT BACK (1986), YOU (1987) and YOU (1989) are “love” and “citizen”. The most prominent news story from China in January 2014 was the trial and sentencing of XU ZHIYONG 许志永, a legal scholar and leading activist of the New Citizen movement. Trials, everything connected with rule of law has been very much in the news for a long time in China. See Han Zongbao’s poem 韩宗宝 from fall 2013, for example.

Xu’s statement in court was titled “FOR FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND LOVE“. I was rather surprised at “love” being evoked as a core political value like “freedom” and “justice”. Liberté, Egalité, Amour? Xu’s statement and the accompanying account of how authorities had tried to warn and intimidate him before he was arrested make it clear that he is not only an activist for the rights of migrant workers and for greater openness about public servants’ financial assets. “Can you explain what you mean by Socialism?”, he asks. This is certainly a very important question. China is a Socialist country, at least by name, just like Vietnam, North Korea and Laos. Are there any others? Socialism for China is like Shiite Islam for Iran. But what does Socialism mean, apart from one-party-rule? I think it’s something to believe in, and to practice, to change the fates of working people through actions of solidarity. Isn’t that what the New Citizen movement was trying to do? But Xu has all but dismissed Socialism and has not tried to invoke it as something originally worth believing in. This is understandable, under the circumstances. But can you imagine someone standing up in court in Iran and asking “Can you explain what Islam entails?” Maybe people do it, I don’t know. They probably wouldn’t dismiss religion.

Actually, it is more complicated. I think Xu is testing what is possible. how far the system will go to crush opposition. In his obstinacy he could be compared to Shi Mingde (Shih Ming-te) 施明德 in Taiwan in the 1980s. But Xu is much younger than Shi was in the late 1980s, he was only 15 in 1989.

Xu Zhiyong

“Me:  Aren’t the communist party and socialism western products? May I ask, what is socialism? If a market economy is socialist, why is democracy and the rule of law, which we are pursuing, not socialist? Does socialism necessarily exclude democracy and the rule of law?”

C:你的一系列文章,比如《人民的国家》,整个照搬西方体制,反党反社会主义,你们的组织活动,几个月发展到几千人,你的行为已经构成犯罪,而且不止一个罪名。
我:共产党、社会主义难道不是西方的吗?请问什么是社会主义?市场经济如果是社会主义,我们追求的民主法治为什么就不是社会主义?社会主义必然和民主法治对立吗?关于反党,这个概念太极端,方针政策对的就支持,错误的就反对,而且,我对任何人都心怀善意,如果共产党经过大选继续执政,我支持。[…] 我可能比你更爱中国!你有空可以看看我写的《回到中国去》,看一个中国人在美国的经历和感想。而你们,多少贪官污吏把财产转移到了国外?

C:爱党,爱国,爱人民,三位一体,你不爱党,怎么爱国爱人民?
我:我的祖国五千年了,来自西方的党还不到百年,将来共产党不会千秋万世永远统治,怎么可能三位一体?我爱中国,我爱13亿同胞,但我不爱党。一个原因是历史上它给我的祖国带来的太残酷的伤害,数千万人饿死,文化大革命彻底摧残了中华民族的精神文化,还有就是今天这个党太肮脏,大量贪官污吏,从申请书到入党宣誓都是在公然撒谎——有几个真的要为共产主义奋斗终身?我厌恶谎言,我厌恶为了私欲不择手段,我厌恶一个人在宣誓的时刻也撒谎。

C:敢说不爱党,算你是好汉。考虑到你的主张自由、公义、爱还不错,目的是好的,本着教育的方针,还是希望爱党,放弃公民活动,多和社会各界接触,看问题更客观些。
我:谢谢提醒,我会努力更加客观理性,既看社会问题,也看新闻联播。具体活动如果有不当之处,我可以听取建议,有些行为如果超前了,可以停下来,都可以协商,但是别说什么犯罪。

C:我知道一时半会改变不了你的观点。看过你的档案,你这个人多年来就像一根针一样那么恒定,立场就在那里一动不动。下次接着谈吧。明天后天下午什么时候你觉得合适?
我:明天吧。[words marked by me, see below]

This dialogue between Xu and Beijing State Security official C is very interesting. There is a measure of mutual respect. Xu has spunk, he is brave and obstinate. He mentions “数千万人饿死”, tens of millions died of hunger, as one of the main reasons for not “loving the party” 爱党, as suggested by his interrogator. This dialogue should be very good material for studying Chinese. This section is from the end of the first day (June 25) of Xu’s interrogations in June 2013. You can compare the original to the translation on http://Chinachange.org.  In the translation, I could not access the link to Xu’s patriotic article Go Back To China 《回到中国去》, written in New York a few years ago, but it seems to be available on several blogs readily accessible in China.

I Don’t Want You to Give Up’ – a public letter by Xu Zhiyong’s wife.

Words like “citizen” and “love”, and any other words or means of expressions, actually, become something remarkably different in a work of art, different from every-day-usage, and usage in political statements. I find Xu’s use of “love” baffling. “Love” strikes me as rather imprecise, compared to “justice”, for example. Love, simply love, not compassion or caritas. Not bo’ai 博爱, just  aì 愛, as in Wo ai ni 我愛你。Imprecise, but endearing, as something obviously non-political. And thus closer to poetry, literature, art? Ubi caritas et amor, deus ibi est. All You Need is Love. And so on.

“If I had a hammer I’d hammer in the morning/  I’d hammer in the evening all over this land/  I’d hammer out danger, I’d hammer out warning/  I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters/ All over this land …” Pete Seeger  (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)

The International Federation of Journalists has issued a report on press freedom in China in 2013. Here are two small excerpts:

“On May 3, a woman named Yuan Liya was found dead

outside Jingwen shopping centre in Beijing. Police said

Yuan had jumped from the shopping centre, but her

parents suspected she was killed after she was raped

by several security guards during the night. On May

8 the media was instructed to republish a statement

issued by the Beijing Police and further ordered that

no information could be gathered from independent

sources. All online news sites were told to downplay the

case and social microblogs were required to remove all

related news items.”

This immediately reminds me of SHENG XUE’s 盛雪 poem YOUR RED LIPS, A WORDLESS HOLE, from early 2007. The original is titled NI KONGDONG WU SHENG DE YU YAN HONG CHUN 你空洞无声的欲言红唇. The poem was translated into German by Angelika Burgsteiner and recited in early March 2013 at TIME TO SAY NO, the PEN Austria event for International Women’s Day, in cooperation with PEN Brazil.

“On May 14, media outlets disclosed that several

primary school principals were involved in scandals

involving sexual exploitation of minors. All of the alleged

victims were primary school students. Some bloggers

initiated a campaign aimed at protecting children, but

the authorities demanded that the media downplay

both the scandal and the campaign.”

Cf. Lily’s Story 丽丽传 by Zhao Siyun 赵思云, from 2012.

In China, a Young Feminist Battles Sexual Violence Step by Step

China Avantgarde: Paul Manfredi's occasional notes on Chinese art and literature

 

 

 

This painting courtesy of Yan Li

 

YanLi_horse

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TRIAL: Han Zongbao 韩宗宝

十月 31, 2013

Urteil

Han Zongbao

TRIAL

judge kids by old people                       judge whites by blacks

judge black by white                  judge dusk by dawn

judge swallows by crows                       judge freedom by a bird in a cage

judge elephants by mice                        judge butterflies by the eye of a storm

judge ants on a tree by fish in a bowl

judge times by their fools          judge jobless graduates by golden iphones

judge square by round               judge sea by sky

judge cotton by iron                  judge sheep and grassroots by tanks

the silent lambs, how meek they are!

judge art and writing by dynamite                       judge people by country

judge earth by snow                  judge jews by hitler

judge christ on the cross by judas and the last supper

judge shoes by feet      judge cities by villages

judge floods by tall dams          judge water by wells

judge football by whistle                        judge hawkers by city security

judge temporary workers by public servants       judge migrant laborers by residence permits

judge B by A     judge Second by First   judge crying by smiling

stars and the gunpowder in bullets have never been exposed to moisture

if the chessboard says you’re guilty       then you are guilty

those people who died from secret questioning  those who died

when detained or arrested          they must have seen

the sullied red flag and the hands                       when an experienced questioner

becomes a murderer                  her shining and glorious life

produced how many deaths how many wrongs               written in blood

what kind of terror and torture

most one go through     before he prefers death to life

relentless questioning    what does it mean to him or her

everyone noticed his neck must have been stuck

but on tv they aired his confession

he put on his own trial of his text and the camera

we don’t need courts we don’t need laws            our nation doesn’t need them

’cause the trial is completed       in this giant one-way judgment

everyone can be a criminal         just have to grab them

and put them inside       if they are tough bones their flesh can be done with

one after another gets thrown in jail        who will be the next one

what is it that’s breaking up                    happy days and pleasant scenes

laws appear on worthless paper in restricted public trials

just like catwalks           once the process is in motion

once you get inside       your only trick is to confess

so confess       the grief of an innocent man      small traces of blood

and disgrace     tears are so helpless     just what you asked for

an innocent man in the end        hangs his head in confession     amen

2013-10-29

Tr. MW (10/31/13)

《审判》

韩宗宝

用老人审判孩子 用白人审判黑人

用黑审判白 用早晨审判傍晚

用乌鸦审判燕子 用笼中的鸟审判自由

用老鼠审判一头大象 用风暴眼审判蝴蝶

用缸中的金鱼审判上树的蚂蚁

用小丑审判时代 用土豪金审判蚁族

用圆审判方 用天空审判海洋

用铁审判棉花 用坦克审判绵羊和草根

这些沉默的羔羊多么温驯

用炸药审判文字和艺术 用国家审判人民

用雪审判土地 用希特勒审判犹太人

用犹大和晚餐审判十字架上的上帝

用脚审判鞋子 用村庄审判城市

用高高的堤坝审判洪水 用井审判水

用黑哨审判足球 用城管审判小贩

用公仆审判临时工 用暂居证审判民工

用A审判B 用甲审判乙 用笑审判哭

星星和弹孔中的火焰 一直不曾受潮

棋盘上标明你有罪 你就有了罪

那些死于秘密审判的人 那些死于

拘禁和逮捕的人 必定见过

被污染的红旗和手 当一个审讯能手

成为凶手 她光辉而荣耀的一生

制造了多少死亡和冤屈 血书累累

需要经历怎样恐怖可怕的折磨

一个人才会 宁死不生

无懈可击的审讯 究竟对他意味什么

大家注意到了他被狠狠卡过的脖子

但电视已经播出他的口供

他对着镜头和台词做出了自我审判

何需法庭 何需法律 国家不需要这些

因为审判业已完成 这单向式的强大审判

每一个人都可以是罪犯 不过是抓起来

再关进去 硬骨头可以从肉体上消灭

一个个的人陆续入狱 下一个是谁

有什么在崩溃 大好良辰好景虚设

法律形同废纸 有限的公开审判

仿佛秀场 那木马般的程序一旦启动

只要你进去了 你唯一的招就是招

招吧 一个无罪之人的悲伤 略带血痕

和耻辱 泪水如此无力 如你所愿

一个无罪的人最终 低头认罪 阿门

2013.10.29

This poem was written partly in response to the New Express 新快报 / Chen Yongzhou 陈永洲 incident, as the author told me after he showed his poem around on Weibo. However, this is not one of those poems which act like condensed news articles, like Zhao Siyun’s Lily’s Story or Sheng Xue’s Your Red Lips A Wordless Hole (German version see Angelika Burgsteiner’s translation). Han Zongbao‘s poem seems to be less straightforward.

“When an experienced questioner/ becomes a murderer/ her shining and glorious life/ produced how many deaths how many wrongs”

Whose glorious life? The murdering questioners? Why “her”? The female pronoun seems to indicate a particular person. Please look at the comments for answers to these questions.

reden

一月 15, 2013

Image

speech and rain

speech is swept by wind in winter
swept away by wind and gone

speech would hardly help in summer
hardly help against the sun

speeches held by storms in springtime
storms in springtime hold no speech

speech will come in fall in beijing
speech in beijing, always late

MW    June 2012, Vienna

See also https://erguotou.wordpress.com/reden/

Every country or region has repressed issues. 有時候被壓抑的事偶爾出頭。奧地利前內政部長剛被判4年徒刑。 A 14-year old boy was shot dead for breaking into a supermarket in Austria in 2009. The policeman who ran after him and shot him in the back is still on duty. The facade of the Konzerthaus in Vienna says “Honor your German masters and ban good spirits”. Whom or what did they ban in the 1930s and 1940s? This poem is from Beijing. We lived in Beijing 1999-2008.

Image

Photo by Andreas Landwehr, dpa

reden (und sonnenschein)

reden fegt der wind im winter
fegt der wind im winter weg

reden hilft bei starker sonne
hilft bei starker sonne kaum

reden haelt der sturm im fruehjahr
haelt der sturm im fruehjahr nicht

reden kommt im herbst in beijing
kommt in beijing oft zu spaet

MW    Dezember 2007, Beijing

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/dujuan99nihon/5984001.html

德語雨regen和說話、言論、發言reden很像。07年跟在歐洲的家人溝通有問題而想到这首。

北京12年七月洪水記得嗎?

regen

北京周围從來缺乏雨水。全國缺乏很多言論。

1

unser land

十二月 10, 2012

請按這裡

please click here

you can find comments here (MCLC List)

Mo Yan’s Nobel lecture is worth seeing and hearing. The link above doesn’t work in China. Tried to post it on Weibo 微博, didn’t work either. Nobelprize.org is still banned in China, it seems. The video of Mo Yan’s speech is of course accessible on many websites in China. What is also accessible, to my surprise, is a video of Gao Xingjian’s Nobel lecture, 12 years ago. One Weibo user made this comment:
对莫言的指责,不尽赞同。但与高行健相比,莫言的差距不是一点点。结局是一个不能回国、只能在海外流浪,而另一个可以继续做作协副主席,备受当下世人追捧。相对于莫言的获奖演说,高行健2000年演说,恐怕更堪称是中文世界的骄傲。

“I don’t agree with Mo Yan’s critics. But if you compare him to Gao Xingjian, there is a huge difference. In the end, one of them can never return to his home country, the other one can keep his job at the Writer’s Association and be celebrated. Comparing the two Nobel speeches, Gao Xingjian’s could be the one more deserving of pride in the Chinese-speaking world.” Hard to translate, because it’s very good and rather literary Chinese.

They had heated discussions in Sweden, for example between Göran Sommardal and Björn Wiman. Read all about it, in Swedish or Chinese (萬之譯) …

Mo Yan and Murakami

十月 16, 2012


I like both Mo Yan’s 莫言 and Murakami Haruki’s 村上春樹 novels. But 1Q84 left me disappointed, although it’s brilliantly written. Great evocation of ordinary lives and neighborhoods. But not very much connection to Orwell. No prison. The two lovers escape at a terrible price. Maybe I sort of hoped neither Mo Yan nor Murakami would get it. Although I think they’re both great writers. Murakami deserves great credit for his political candor, both in some of his novels and otherwise. He recently spoke out for a return to reason in Chinese-Japanese relations. After Mo Yan got the Nobel, he also said something in this direction. Mo Yan has never made political comments before. Now he can do it. So maybe it is a good thing that he got the prize.
Making handwritten copies of the speech that was the reference point for decades of repression in literature is an absurd, shameful act.
On the other hand, Mo Yan’s novels could be called an important continuation of the magical realism tradition. The realism of The Garlic Ballads clearly shows the helplessness of peasants and ordinary people in the 1980s. The Republic of Wine is a fantastically powerful indictment of official corruption. Some other novels have broader historic scope. The stories take place in many different periods, under CCP rule as well as before and even in the 19th century. But they are all fantastic tales of familiar people in villages and small towns. Ma Lan’s 馬蘭 How We Killed a Glove 我們如何殺一隻手套 employs different techniques, but when you are in the middle of reading you also realize the details refer to massacres and tragedies that seem very fantastic in hindsight but which are actually quite familiar still for many people even now. So I have great respect for Mo Yan 莫言 and Tie Ning 鐵凝, even though they chair the Chinese Writer’s Association. They don’t even have Party members in their stories, as far as I recall. There are no chairmen or even higher functionaries at all in recent Chinese literature. There are no vindications of official policy, in contrast to the 1950s and 1960s. As to the Yan’an Talks or Yan’an Forum 延安文藝座談會, it was not really a discussion with different voices being respected. Maghiel van Crevel 克雷 has put the whole context together in his book on Duo Duo 多多 in 1995, on the basis of Bonnie McDougall etc. The Chairman had remarkable rhetoric skill, but it can’t be separated from the context of writers disappearing, getting imprisoned and killed, not to speak of other people, right then and there in 1942, on the grounds of what Mao was saying. It’s not the kind of literary theory you can discuss on its own. Socialist realism with its many facets and developments in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, GDR etc. is certainly worth a great deal of attention and discussion, but it is always very directly connected with politics. In some countries, like the former Soviet Union and China, this connection was compounded by dictators considered as intellectuals. Marxism, Socialism and Communism were taboo in the US for a long time. This kind of repression is still quite visible in the propaganda against Obama, who isn’t really leftist at all. And because of this, literary and social theory have a very strong and special status in US academia. Infatuation with China and/or what was perceived as its politics is an additional factor, also in other countries. When I look at the social and political context of literature in China, I prefer Yu Hua 余華 to Mo Yan. But it’s not that simple. Mo Yan is a soldier, joining the PLA was the only way for him to become a writer. He has done and is doing what is possible in his position, and deserves respect.

Murong Xuecun, Yu Hua, Liu Zhenyun, Bob Dylan and Rivers of Bablyon

八月 5, 2012

I don’t think Murong Xuecun exaggerates, like one commentator suggested on the MCLC list. Yes, you could encompass many alarming, saddening, embarrassing stories in one speech in other places than China, and people do it all the time, naming names, practices, products. The difference is that in China you will be silenced more swiftly and harshly. Yes, there are exceptions.

Does Mo Yan revel in cruelty like Dan Brown? Does Yu Hua make better use of the cruel parts in his novels? Ok, I’m an interested party, I can’t really say. Would be interesting to analyze in detail. Mo Yan’s novels are great works, at least those I have read, he has written a lot. Deep, cathartic, even accusing use of cruel events and structures. I love Yu Hua’s tone. And I associate Liu Zhenyun in Remember 1942, and Murong Xuecun’s Sky and Autumn speech.

We had Jeremiah in church today, along with that story where a guy goes abroad and gives his gold and silver to his servants. The ones that receive more trade with it, and when their lord comes back, they can give him double. The one who received very little buries it, and when the lord comes back, he digs it out and says, I know you are a harsh governor and reap where you haven’t sown, so I was afraid to lose what you gave me, and kept it double safe. His colleagues get to join the big party, and are rewarded with great posts. He is cast out into the darkness, which is filled with howling and chattering teeth. It’s a horrible story. Yes, it’s a parable, and if you have very little reason for faith, you should still risk it and try to make more, because if you bury it deep in your heart you might lose the little trust you had and received and be cast out into the darkness. But if you are the one who has reason to be afraid, how can you trust your lords? The ones who have more and get more have it easy. Even if they lose everything, they are often rewarded – those powerful managers and functionaries. And if there are enough of those who are cast out, and they get organized, maybe some bishops or other lords might dangle from lamp posts. A Hussite reading, said my wife. Yeah, maybe. No shortage of horrible stories in Chinese literature, like in the Bible.

Jeremiah is even worse, it’s a much bigger story, infinitely more horrible. And there is a detail, not in the Jeremiah parts used in church today, but in the songs in exile. By the rivers of Babylon, where we sat down, where we wept when we remembered Zion. And in the end the singer wishes, or the singers wish they will one day brutally kill the children of the oppressors. That’s the detail in Murong Xuecun’s speech I was thinking about.

The calling of Jeremiah, where he says he’s too young, and God says he has to go and obey, and open his mouth, and God will put His words into his mouth, and he will be set above nations and kingdoms, so he can pluck out and demolish, ruin and destroy, as well as plant and build. The preacher said she thought of parting and setting off to other posts, and how the Marschallin in Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s and Richard Strauss’ Rosenkavalier sings of what she will have to give up. What a horrible comparison! There is nothing light in Jeremiah. There are no waltzes. Ok, Rivers of Babylon, yes. But with Jeremiah, if you have to mention Austrian writers, Franz Werfel would be much more apt. Werfel was Jewish and used Jeremiah, a lot. Ok, she did mention, much too briefly how nobody would heed Jeremiah, and that it’s actually the most terrible story.

Anyway, when I heard Jeremiah, I thought of Bob Dylan. Masters of War. “How much do I know, to talk out of turn? You might say that I’m young; you might say I’m unlearned. But there is one thing I know, though I’m younger than you, it’s that Jesus would never forgive what you do. […] And I’ll watch while you’re lowered onto your deathbed, and I’ll stand on your grave and make sure that you’re dead.” I don’t know if Dylan thought of Nixon and Kissinger explicitly, when he wrote this song. America’s Vietnam War was raging, and I think the song came out when Nixon and Kissinger where in power. Anyway, there is that Monty Python song about Kissinger. Very explicit. Dylan and Monty Python would not be able to sing these songs in China on stage today, to say nothing about what Chinese artists can do. No, Murong Xuecun doesn’t exaggerate.

x and y

x was cruel

butt is sore

y was able

and suave.

both loved culture

both destroyed

hundred million

butts are cold

MW         March 2007

Yes, I thought of Mao and Nixon, and their sidekicks. But x and y could stand for many people, and could be mentioned anywhere, at least today. Almost anywhere, probably. Anyway, it’s about smoking, you know. Littering. OK, enough for today.

Liu Xiaobo worldwide reading

三月 23, 2011

The world-wide reading on March 20 was a big success. In Leipzig, as far as I heard. In Vienna, it was interesting. Instructive. Great experts. Reporters Without Borders. Amnesty International. Writers in Prison, with Helmuth Niederle from the Austrian PEN. Professors from the East Asia departments of Vienna and Bratislava. Poetry. Protesters in China, in prison. Women, peasants, workers. In spirit. In between. Over 90 cities in 33 countries on six continents. At least. Gerhard Ruiss and Bei Ling read in Leipzig. At the book fair.

Herta Müller’s speech on March 20 in Berlin was published in the FAZ on March 26. Very good speech. She has read the biography. Maybe a little too fast. The labour camp didn’t come immediately after the first prison term. He wrote the confession in prison at the end of 1990 and went free in January 1991. Everything else is correct. The episode with his father, who wanted him to give in. And the labour camp. She does take a side, very emphatically. The last sentence is the most important one. “More and more supporters of Charter 08 are disappearing in jail.” Liu Xianbin was sentenced to 10 years a few days ago. Altogether he has been sentenced for more than 25 years since 1989. His most serious crime seems to have been one of the founders of an opposition party at the end of the 1990s.  Liu Xianbin’s wife Chen Mingxian chronicles her life in the last 20 years in this account: http://08charterbbs.blogspot.com/2010/10/blog-post_23.html

There is also a good piece in the NY Times by Geng He, wife of the human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/28/opinion/28geng.html

Teng Biao has disappeared, Ran Yunfei has been detained for a while, and now Liu Xianbin has been sentenced to 10 years, to name but a few. The situation is very clear. No progress, just the opposite.

MuseumsQuartier Wien, Raum D / quartier21 - Photo by Pernille Koldbech Fich

There will be a reading with Bei Ling, poet and publisher, in Vienna at the same location on April 12.

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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