Chinese dissident author Liao in Germany: festival

15th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Chinese dissident author Liao Yiwu arrived in Germany on Wednesday after authorities prevented 14 previous attempts to leave his home country, organisers of a literary festival who invited him said.

"We are happy that we were successful in inviting Liao Yiwu to Germany and that the Chinese government allowed him to leave," Ulrich Schreiber, head of the Berlin International Literature Festival (ILB), said in a statement.

Last year the author, also known as Lao Wei, was prevented from attending the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest, and in March this year he was not allowed to travel to another German festival in Cologne, organisers said.

In February, Liao, who according to rights groups has been imprisoned numerous times, appealed to Chancellor Angela Merkel for help in a letter posted on the Human Rights in China group's website.

On Wednesday Liao was not available for comment. According to the ILB, he will stay in Germany until October 31, appearing also at other events including the Harbour Front Festival in the northern city of Hamburg.

Liao has been arrested several times for his criticisms of the Chinese regime, according to rights groups, the first time in 1990 while making a movie about the 1989 killing of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.

© 2010 AFP

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