Frankfurt Book Fair

Furore as Chinese dissidents address Frankfurt Book Fair symposium

(September 12, 2009) According to a Deutsche Presse-Agentur story, the Chinese government walked out of today’s symposium organized by the Frankfurt Book Fair called “China and the world – perception and reality” when dissident writers, Dai Qing and Bei Ling, showed up to speak their minds.

Dai Qing and Bei Ling, both world renowned and respected Chinese writers, became the center of a firestorm this week when the symposium organizers revoked their invitations in order to appease the Chinese government. The organizers of the world’s largest book fair then came under heavy criticism from writers and governments alike for abetting Chinese government censorship.

The symposium was originally intended to clear up prejudices about China, which will be the “guest of honour” at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. But the event now seems to have confirmed that the Chinese government censorship apparatus is still very active, even beyond Chinese borders.

China’s former ambassador to Germany, Mei Zhaorong, who spoke at the symposium, said “we didn’t come for a lesson on democracy, these times are over,” adding that Dai Qing and Bei Ling were welcome to participate in the discussion but did not represent China’s 1.3 billion citizens. Apparently much of the Chinese government delegation walked out.

The two dissident authors in turn expressed disappointment at the Chinese delegation for leaving the room, saying such behaviour did not enable discussion.

Patricia Adams, Probe International, September 12, 2009

Read the full story here.

Categories: Frankfurt Book Fair

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