Mon, Feb 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Poems celebrate Liu Xiaobo’s life

HOUSE ARREST:The highlight of the event was the screening of a video featuring Liu Xiaobo’s wife reciting her own poems at her residence in Beijing

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Several Chinese poets yesterday held a reading in Taipei to commemorate Nobel Peace Prize laureate Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) as they promoted a new collection of more than 400 poems written in his honor.

The reading took place on the closing day of the Taipei International Book Exhibition, featuring recitals of poems by Liu and his wife, Liu Xia (劉霞), by Chinese writers Mo Zhixu (莫之許), Meng Lang (孟浪), Bei Ling (貝嶺) and others.

A few poems from the collection, titled Men of the Same Era: A Poetry Collection in Memory of Liu Xiaobo (同時代人:劉曉波紀念詩集), which was published in Taiwan on Monday last week, were also read out at the event.

“The reason why we chose to unveil this book here at the exhibition is because we believe it is the event in Asia that best symbolizes freedom of publication,” said Mo, who compiled the collection.

The collection includes the works of 191 people written after news emerged of Liu Xiaobo’s diagnosis in June last year of terminal-stage cancer.

About 70 percent of the contributing writers live in China, while the rest are spread across Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia, Japan, North America, Europe and elsewhere.

The prominent democracy advocate died aged 61 on July 13 last year, more than a month after he was transferred from prison to a heavily guarded hospital.

The highlight of the event was the screening of a video featuring Liu Xia reciting her own poems at her home in Beijing, where she has been under house arrest for years.

The video was sent to the outside world “through a special manner,” and it heart-wrenchingly depicted the sorrow of a wife who has spent most of her life away from her husband, Bei said.

“[Liu] Xiaobo once told me that the most unfortunate person is not the prisoner of conscience himself, because he is on the side of the truth. Rather, the most unfortunate person is his wife, as she most likely did not enter into marriage with the expectation of marrying a prisoner,” Bei said.

The organizer also showed videos and audio clips featuring Nobel laureates for literature Herta Muller and Elfriede Jelinek reading the German versions of some of Liu Xiaobo’s and Liu Xia’s poems.

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