Chinese writer to speak in US after ban

1st September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dissident writer Liao Yiwu, who fled China after authorities banned him from visiting the United States and Australia, will speak out on a first US trip, a literary group said Wednesday.

Liao, who spent four years in jail after writing the poem "Massacre" about the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, will speak at New York's New School at a September 13 event of PEN, a group of authors active on human rights.

China barred Liao from heading to literary festivals in New York and Sydney earlier this year, leading US and Australian organizers to protest. Liao later escaped to exile in Germany after first walking by foot to Vietnam.

"As it gets harder for independent-minded writers to leave China, an opportunity like this to hear directly from a great Chinese writer is an increasingly precious thing," PEN president Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosopher at Princeton University, said in a statement.

PEN said that Liao would read from his new book, "God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China," and perform the Chinese bamboo flute known as a xiao. Novelist Salman Rushdie will introduce the event.

China this year launched one of its biggest crackdown on dissent in years amid a wave of pro-democracy uprisings in the Middle East.

China detained acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei for nearly three months and refuses to release last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, a writer and activist who has been active in the Independent Chinese PEN Center.

Liao, who was based in the southwestern province of Sichuan, is also the author of "The Corpse Walker," which records the lives of Chinese from forgotten classes including a grave robber and a delusional peasant who believes he is an emperor. His works are banned in China.

© 2011 AFP

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