Off-Screen
During the Cultural Revolution, people were sentenced to death or outright murdered because of one wrong sentence. In China today writers do not lose their lives over their poems or articles; however, they are jailed for years. My friend Liu Xiaobo for example will stay in prison till 2020; even winning the Nobel Peace Prize could not help him. In prison those lucky enough not to be sentenced to hard labor play “blind chess” to kill time AND TO TRAIN THE BRAIN NOT TO RUST. Freedom of expression is still a luxury in China. The firewall is everywhere, yet words can fly above it and so can our thoughts. My column, like the blind chess played by prisoners, is an exercise to keep our brains from rusting and the situation in China from indifference.
Tienchi Martin-Liao is the president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. Previously she worked at the Institute for Asian Affairs in Hamburg, Germany, and lectured at the Ruhr-University Bochum from 1985 to 1991. She became head of the Richard-Wilhelm Research Center for Translation in 1991 until she took a job in 2001 as director of the Laogai Research Foundation (LRF) to work on human rights issues. She was at LRF until 2009. Martin-Liao has served as deputy director of the affiliated China Information Center and was responsible for updating the Laogai Handbook and working on the Black Series, autobiographies of Chinese political prisoners and other human rights books. She was elected president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center in October 2009 and has daily contact with online journalists in China.
  • The Magic Word “Occupy”
    The Magic Word “Occupy”

    Tienchi Martin-Liao calls attention to the Sunflower Movement that began in opposition to the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA). Tienchi describes the CSSTA made between mainland China and Taiwan, the latest protests in Taipei, and she fleshes out the central issues that sparked action since March 18, 2014.

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  • Lu Xun
    Servitude

    Tienchi Martin-Liao writes about how the concept of “servitude,” or nuxing, has impacted Chinese and Indian literature and culture throughout history. She then discusses China’s current servitude to wealth and its recent offer to modernize India.

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  • Li Jianhong and Duoduo
    Break the Besieged Fortress

    For Chinese activists government restrictions on their rights to move and travel are clear: once you’re in, you can’t get out, and once you’re out you can’t get in. Tienchi Martin-Liao highlights the cases of Li Jianhong and others who have tried to break through the “besieged fortress”.

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  • Xu Zhiyong and Hu Jia Supporters
    Offshore Leaks Trigger Wave of Fear

    A new International Consortium of Investigative Journalists report lists over 21,000 people in China and Hong Kong – among them military and political leaders – with secret offshore holdings. Did China imprison activists and dissidents writers to divert attention from the corruption scandal?

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Fearless, Ink.