CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 24 August 2019

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Banned Chinese novelist gets chance to talk

HONG KONG (SE): Liao Yiwu, who spent four years in prison after writing a poem called, Massacre, in the wake of the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 4 June 1989, finally got the opportunity to speak publicly in the United States of America (US) at the New York New School on September 13, at a function organised by PEN, an international human rights organisation.

Liao was barred by Chinese authorities from travelling to the US and Australia for literary festivals earlier this year, leading to protests from the two countries, but later escaped to Germany, after literally walking into 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,” the president of PEN, Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosophy professor at Princeton University, said in a statement.

PEN said that Liao had been invited to 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, or xiao. Novelist, Salman Rushdie, introduced the event.

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

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