German book award causes stir
BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
Dissident writer Liao Yiwu wins the annual German Book Trade Peace Prize. AFP Photo
China yesterday condemned a German foundation for giving leading dissident Liao Yiwu a prestigious literary award, saying the author fabricated stories and was convicted of crimes.
Liao, who spent four years in jail after writing “Massacre,” a poem about the bloody crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests, was awarded the annual German Book Trade Peace Prize last week. “Liao Yiwu was once convicted for illegal activity,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters when asked about the prize.
“After going abroad, Liao Yiwu continued to fabricate stories to receive sympathy and support. We hope relevant institutions and personnel in Germany can view China’s development in an objective and fair light.” Liao has been in Germany since 2010 after successfully defying a travel ban by first walking out of China to Vietnam.
He is also the author of “The Corpse Walker,” which portrays 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.
The Book Trade foundation said he had “bravely and unflinchingly protested against political oppression and given an audible voice to the disenfranchised people in his country.” Liao will be formally presented with the honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Oct. 14.