Sun, Jan 20, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Chinese writer tells of prison ‘hell’

AFP, PARIS

He says he has little hope that human rights in the country will improve under Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平), who was appointed General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) last autumn and is expected to be anointed president later this year.

He is also pessimistic about a recently announced pledge to reform China’s long-criticized “re-education though labor” system, in which people can be sentenced to up to four years of labor by a police panel.

“The issue is not one little reform after another, the issue is ending dictatorship because dictatorship is very creative — if it abolishes one system, it will invent another,” he said.

In the meantime, Liao plans to continue writing — and adjusting to life as a dissident author-in-exile.

French plainclothes policemen lurked outside the famous Paris cafe where he held the book’s press launch — mild security compared to what he experienced on a recent trip to Mexico.

“I had just got off the plane and the head of the police and the culture minister were there to greet me. There were lots of police cars and I really thought I was a criminal,” he recalls.

“During my stay, there were seven policemen with me at all times, carrying huge guns ... life in exile constantly brings new surprises,” he said.

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