Chinese Dissident author Liao Yiwu fled China for Germany in 2011 and has been awarded the 2012 German Peace Prize. The fearless writer has ”given the people on the periphery of Chinese society a literary movement”, said the German Book Trade Association on their website.
He has a new book coming out entitled ‘The Ball and the Opium – Life and Death on Tiananmen Square’, to be released in Germany at the end of the year.
His work tells of his own suffering and atrocities suffered as well as the suffering of his people in an eloquent style that’s not without humour.
On June 3rd, 1989 he composed a poem about the violence in Tienanmen Square called ‘Massacre’ about the event. This led to Liao’s four year incarceration after he published the poem.
This didn’t stop him from speaking out against the Chinese government. In the years that followed, he collated and gathered the underground poems written by Chinese dissidents entitled ‘The Fall of the Holy Temple.’ He was full of despair and tried to kill himself numerous times during his imprisonment, but still continued to publish other things.
In 1998 his manuscript ‘Interviews with People from the Bottom Rung of Society’ was smuggled out of China to Taiwan, where it was published and then translated to English and French.
Liao has continued his investigations into politically sensitive areas. In 2009, he was forbidden by the Chinese government to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Cologne Book Fair in 2010. In September 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made an appeal on his behalf to get him to the Berlin International Literary Festival.
Fed up from being banned by his home country from attending, he has now taken up permanent residence in Germany. At the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2012, Laio will be awarded a cash prize of 32,000 euro.
The German Peace Prize has been running since 1950. Other prominent winners include author Herman Hesse and Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk.