On March 1, 2010, in the Chengdu airport, dissident writer Liao Yiwu (廖亦武) was taken by police off a plane bound for Beijing, where he had planned to fly on his way to attend lit.Cologne, a literature festival in Cologne, Germany. Liao was interrogated at a local police station for several hours. Upon his release, he was told not to leave his house “during this period.” At Liao’s request, Human Rights in China (HRIC) is releasing a letter from Liao to his German readers in both the original Chinese and in English translation (below).
In early 2010, after Liao Yiwu accepted the invitation to attend lit.Cologne from March 10 to March 20 – with planned activities including lectures, readings, performances with German musicians, and meetings with German readers – he was warned by police that he would not be permitted to leave the country. On February 8, Liao Yiwu wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to ask for her help, a letter which HRIC previously released in Chinese and English. According to Liao, German officials have relayed a message from Merkel to Liao that she would try to intervene, but that, if unsuccessful, he could wait for the next opportunity.
After Liao’s letter to Merkel was made public, he was threatened by Chengdu police on February 26. They even asked him to cooperate with the government by saying that he did not want to go abroad. The police also warned him against accepting international media interviews, telling Liao, “They are harming you and don’t care whether you live or die.”
This is the second time in less than six months that Liao has been denied permission to travel abroad. In October 2009, Liao was not permitted to go to Germany to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair.
For further information on Liao Yiwu, see:
- “In Letter, Writer Liao Yiwu Seeks Help from Angela Merkel,” February 8, 2010
- “Spectacle of Power Cannot Conceal Deep Insecurity,” September 30, 2009
- “June Fourth Memorial Activities Closely Monitored in China,” June 5, 2008