From Wang Shiwei to Liu Xiaobo: Prisoners of Literary Inquisition under Communist Rule in China
Wang Shiwei (Wang Shih-wei, born Wang Siwei, April 5, 1906 – July 1, 1947), a writer, translator and commentator, was executed in secret as a “counterrevolutionary Trotskyite spy”on the 26th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
In Chinese dictionaries published since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the definition of Literary Inquisition is restricted to “the rulers of olden times”; at the very least, it is a relic of the past, occurring no more recently than a century ago, mainly during the Ming and Qing dynasties. In the Mandarin Dictionary published by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan), Literary Inquisition is defined as occurring in the “era of absolute monarchy”, precluding its existence in the Republic era. A revised edition has amended the definition to read, “During the autocratic era, criminal cases arising from the written word”. This last definition is the common usage adopted by contemporary Chinese literature, and also for this book.
By Yu Zhang
The primary founder of PEN International, aka International PEN, was Mrs. Dawson-Scott, an English novelist and poet, whose maiden name was Catherine Amy Dawson. She was once better known as Mrs. Sappho, and later as “Mother of PEN”. Continue reading
By Yu Zhang
PEN International, formerly known as International PEN, founded on 5th October 1921, is currently the only global association of writers. The traditional constituents of PEN membership are summed up in its three letters: P stands for Poet and Playwright, E for Editor and Essayist, and N for Novelist. As a word in combination, PEN is also a traditional tool of writing, very meaningful. Today, a reporter, literary translator or publishes is also eligible to become a member of PEN. Continue reading