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Chinese dissident author savages Beijing at German awards
by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) Oct 14, 2012

Chinese dissident author Liao Yiwu on Sunday tore into the leadership in Beijing, describing his homeland as an "inhuman empire with bloody hands" as he scooped a prestigious German book prize.

The author, also known as Lao Wei, added that the Chinese state was a "massive scrap heap that must break apart" and accused the West of "colluding with the executioners under the cover of free trade."

Liao was speaking as he collected the German Book Trade Peace Prize, the country's second highest award after the Georg Buechner Prize, and its endowment of 25,000 euros ($32,000) at a ceremony attended by German President Joachim Gauck.

Liao spent four years in jail after writing the poem "Massacre" about the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

He moved to Germany after successfully defying a travel ban by walking to Vietnam.

Liao is also the author of "The Corpse Walker," which records the lives of working-class Chinese including a grave robber and a delusional peasant who believes he is an emperor. His works are banned in China.

Gottfried Honnefelder, president of the German Booksellers' and Publishers' Association, praised the author as someone who had "restored a voice to the people of his country suffering from repression and oppression."

The award ceremony took place at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Past winners of the prize include Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, Hungarian Peter Esterhazy and Czech writer and former president Vaclav Havel.

Last year's prize was won by internationally acclaimed Algerian author Boualem Sansal.

China criticised the nomination when it was announced in June, saying the author had "continued to fabricate stories to receive sympathy and support."

On Saturday, in an interview made public by the newsweekly Spiegel, Liao attacked the Chinese author Mo Yan, who won this year's 2012 Nobel Literature Prize as a "state poet" who is close to the communist regime.

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China writers praise Mo Yan for dissident release call
Beijing (AFP) Oct 14, 2012 - An independent Chinese writer's group has welcomed calls by Nobel prizewinner Mo Yan for the early release of jailed fellow laureate Liu Xiaobo, but questioned his stance on freedom of speech.

Some dissidents accused Mo Yan of being a communist stooge after he won the literature award on Thursday.

But overseas supporters of Liu have welcomed comments by the 57-year-old writer, that he hoped the jailed dissident and 2010 peace prize laureate would be freed as soon as possible.

The Independent Chinese PEN Centre -- run by exiles and domestic writers outside of state control -- made a statement on its website Saturday backing Mo Yan's support for Liu, who is the honorary president of the organisation.

"Our organisation thanks Mo Yan for calling for Liu Xiaobo's freedom," the statement said.

It also urged Mo Yan to join the organisation in "focusing on freedom of speech and writing in China, especially with regards to other writers like Liu Xiaobo who have been jailed, and help them to recover their freedom as soon as possible".

Prominent critics of China's government, including the artist Ai Weiwei and the exiled former prisoner Wei Jingsheng, had earlier accused Mo Yan of being a sellout due to his cooperation with Chinese authorities.

The Independent Chinese PEN Centre "noted with regret" that Mo Yan had been "neglecting for a long time the PEN Centre's purpose of safeguarding the freedom of speech for writers".

It added: "There's a big contradiction between the realist tendencies of his works and the political personality of an official writer, and this has caused wide controversy after his winning of the Nobel Prize."


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