Dogan Akhanli – author
Günter Wallraff (pending)
Ye Fu – Chinese Author, Fellow of the Academy of the Arts of the World
Tienchi Martin-Liao – Member of the Academy of the Arts of the World
Silke Brachmann – Amnesty International
Wednesday, 5th June 2013 at 7:30pm
Academy of the Arts of the World
Im Mediapark 7, 50670 Cologne
The mighty pen against despotism
Worldwide reading for the imprisoned Chinese poet Li Bifeng
Chinese author and advocate of democracy Li Bifeng has already spent twelve years in prison – due to his participation in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and alleged “white-collar crime” – a charge that civil rights activists in China are commonly accused of, not unlike Ai Weiwei. In November 2012, 48 year old Li was sentenced to a further twelve years imprisonment, again with neither reasonable cause nor evidence. The authorities suspect him of helping his friend, the writer Liao Yiwu, Member of the Academy of the Arts of the World and winner of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, escape to Germany the previous year. So far, worldwide protests have not been able to free Li, who is destined to stay behind bars until 2024. In short periods where he is able to write creatively, Li has produced many works of poetry and prose as well as a novel.
The International Literary Festival Berlin (ilb) has organised a worldwide reading for Li Bifeng on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Amnesty International Cologne and the Academy of the Arts of the World have organised the Cologne contribution to this global campaign.
After a short introduction to Li Bifeng’s life and work, there will be readings from his poetry and prose in addition to a 2005 interview from Liao Yiwu’s book “Bullets and Opium” (Fischer Publishers 2012), followed by a discussion.