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Poet Liao Yiwu Banned From Attending German Literary Festival

05 March 2010
Poet Liao Yiwu Banned From Attending German Literary Festival
Chinese poet Liao Yiwu was asked to get off from his flight to Cologne where he was supposed to attend a literary festival. He was questioned then immediately sent home. The outspoken poet said this was the 13th time that he was stopped from leaving China.

In defense of the Chinese poet, the PEN American Center released this statement: We call on President Hu Jintao to end all restrictions on Liao Yiwu and all other writers and permit them to exercise their right to freedom of expression, movement, and association as guaranteed by international law.

Liao wrote back to PEN, saying, "words cannot express my outrage," and released an open letter to his German readers: Writers like me from the bottom of society still have to write, record, and broadcast [our stories], even to the dismay of the Communist Party of China. I have the responsibility to make you understand that the life of the Chinese spirit is longer than the totalitarian government.

In 1989, Liao Yiwu rose to fame when he was arrested for writing and recording a poem (Massacre) about suppressing the students' pro-democracy movement. He and his friends also made a movie of its sequel, Requiem.
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