Liao Yiwu on His Flight Into Exile

Dissident Chinese writer Liao Yiwu has published an account of how he escaped China in the New York Times. We have previously reported on the writer’s travails on several occasions. Earlier this year, Liao Yiwu was prevented from attending the Sydney Writers Festival by Chinese authorities. Then in July we reported on his flight into exile in Germany. Now, a more detailed account has emerged, one that bears all the hallmark’s of his contrarian insouciance.

“For a writer, especially one who aspires to bear witness to what is happening in China, freedom of speech and publication mean more than life itself,” Liao writes. “I have the responsibility to let the world know about the real China hidden behind the illusion of an economic boom - a China indifferent to ordinary people’s simmering resentment.” Liao, the author of a series of fascinating interviews entitled The Corpse-Walker (published in Australia by Text), has already served a four-year prison sentence, during which his recalcitrance earned him the nickname ‘the Big Idiot’. He also writes of the treatment of another prominent Chinese poet-dissident, Liu Xiaobo. Liu, who in 2008 co-authored Charter 08 - a manifesto demanding greater political and human rights - and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2010, is currently in the third year of an 11-year prison sentence for publishing seditious material. Charter 08 was initially signed by some 350 Chinese intellectuals and has since been signed by about 10,000 more.

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