Chinese soft power and its economic reach: No room for dissident writers at London Book Fair highlighting Chinese market. This gives exiled Chinese poet Bei Ling feelings of even further, exile in his own diasporic node of London. Detained in April 2000 at Qinghe Detention Center for ‘illegal publication’ Bei was deported and fined $24,000 after an international protest.
“I understand and am in agreement with you that the marketing of the works of literature is indisputably important… However, one wonders if this should take precedence over thoughts as well as ideas concerned with freedom?” - Bei Ling in a follow-up letter written to London Book fair organizers.
For more, see Two unforgettable summer weeks in a Beijing prison (HRIC). Additionally, an earlier 2009 interview with Bei Ling is available on Youtube.
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Exile Now Even Lonelier: Chinese Poet Says London Book Fair Excludes Dissident Voices
by Alex Ortolani
Source – Asia Society, published April 12, 2012
(Update, April 13, 2012: This post now includes an official response from the London Book Fair and British Council to Bei Ling’s charges.)
Next week, the London Book Fair will be highlighting the Chinese market by hosting famous writers and big Chinese publishing houses. To set up the program the fair’s organizers worked closely with China’s General Administration of Press and Publication, the administrative body that issues licenses for books, magazines and newspapers.
What they didn’t do, according to exiled poet Bei Ling, was invite Chinese writers who are not sponsored by the state — writers who live in democratic cities like, well, London. Read the rest of this entry »