As you probably know, Friday was the one-year anniversary of the death of jailed democracy activist and poet Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波, and last Tuesday his widow Liu Xia 刘霞 was released from her eight-year house arrest and has taken refuge in Germany (her release was due to the principled negotiation of German chancellor Angela Merkel).
To commemorate the anniversary of Liu Xiaobo’s death, on Friday China Channel published “Waves Against the Dawn,” Annetta Fotopoulos’s review of The Contemporary: A Poetry Anthology in Commemoration of Liu Xiaobo, edited by Meng Lang 孟浪. She writes:
The anthology was released in Taiwan and Hong Kong on February 1, 2018 under the backdrop of a series of highly publicized events in which Hong Kong publishers were harassed and kidnapped for publishing politically sensitive content. The publication of the anthology can thus be understood as a bold assertion of the right to free speech in a time and place where that right has been repeatedly challenged. Of the 191 poets whose works are collected in the volume, all but 19 chose to use their real names despite the personal risk to themselves and their families. These poets’ conspicuous acts of mourning for an officially dubbed “dissident” tried and jailed for the alleged crime of state subversion heralds a new wave of resolve among Chinese pro-democracy activists to carry forward with Liu Xiaobo’s cause of democratization and free speech in China.
Indeed, one of the recurring themes of the volume is an impatience with and resentment toward mincing words to avoid political stigmas and using analogies to circumvent the censors.
Click on the image above to read the full, in-depth review.