Posts Tagged ‘Libya’

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.

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Libya & Other Countries

二月 22, 2011

As rich European countries go, maybe Austria is just as bad as Italy or France. Only smaller, more provincial. Newest anti-foreigner laws package passed on Tuesday, Feb. 22nd, 2011. The protesters in Egypt didn’t really look to America or Western Europe, but to protest experiences in Serbia and such. At least that’s what I remember from reports in the NY Times, among others. A Chinese friend told me he was watching the Arab protests very much,while he was in Europe, because the pictures from Egypt reminded him of Beijing in 1989.

China has had too many so-called revolutions under Mao and a big failure with protests for civil rights and democracy in 1989. But there are many protests in China all the time. Labor unrest, land seizures, health hazards etc.. There may also be a big craving for stability, hence the hesitation to participate in larger protests. The op-ed in the NYT (IHT) by Daniel Bell, designated Western politics professor in Tianjin, was very academic. Or very wishy-washy. Civil rights are universal. No, China’s not so special. Reporters know, especially when they go to see the blind Women’s rights activist lawyer in Shandong and get waylay-ed and beaten. No, nobody cares about supposed academic discussions on why democracy might not work. Yes, people try to lead a good life, individually, for their family, and sometimes they notice the limits, and try to work around them, and many do talk about it. Sorry for the rambling. As I said, rich countries are no beacons. Maybe I am more politics-sensitive than before, since we moved back to Austria from China, after 10 years in Beijing and a few more in other cities. Roger Cohen is right, the EU doesn’t look very good at all these days.

Don't bother

Don't bother


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