No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems

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9780674072329: No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems

When the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on December 10, 2010, its recipient, Liu Xiaobo, was in Jinzhou Prison, serving an eleven-year sentence for what Beijing called “incitement to subvert state power.” In Oslo, actress Liv Ullmann read a long statement the activist had prepared for his 2009 trial. It read in part: “I stand by the convictions I expressed in my ‘June Second Hunger Strike Declaration’ twenty years ago―I have no enemies and no hatred. None of the police who monitored, arrested, and interrogated me, none of the prosecutors who indicted me, and none of the judges who judged me are my enemies.”

That statement is one of the pieces in this book, which includes writings spanning two decades, providing insight into all aspects of Chinese life. These works not only chronicle a leading dissident’s struggle against tyranny but enrich the record of universal longing for freedom and dignity. Liu speaks pragmatically, yet with deep-seated passion, about peasant land disputes, the Han Chinese in Tibet, child slavery, the CCP’s Olympic strategy, the Internet in China, the contemporary craze for Confucius, and the Tiananmen massacre. Also presented are poems written for his wife, Liu Xia, public documents, and a foreword by Václav Havel.



This collection is an aid to reflection for Western readers who might take for granted the values Liu has dedicated his life to achieving for his homeland.

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About the Author:

Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, is a Chinese writer and human rights activist.

Review:

The message contained in this book is so powerful that Liu has been imprisoned solely for exercising his right to free expression. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu is a testament to the strength of his message and to all the Chinese activists who sacrificed their lives and so much else in the pursuit of freedom and democracy in China. The essays of Liu Xiaobo have inspired freedom loving people not only in China but around the world. (Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader)

Liu Xiaobo insists on "living in truth." Each time I re-read his astute essays and merciless self-dissections, I am struck again: here truly is a different kind of Chinese intellectual. The essential value of the essays in this volume springs from that very source: Liu Xiaobo lives in truth; he is different. (Ding Zilin, Founder of the Tiananmen Mothers)

Presented in a lucid and persuasive manner with obvious but well restrained moral passion, this book offers a leading Chinese intellectual dissident's thoughts over the past two decades on his persistent efforts to bring about a free, democratic and civilized China. Liu's engagé writings keep alive the modern Chinese tradition of intellectual pursuit of liberal democracy and constitute another page of individual struggle for human freedom and dignity. This book is for anyone who is concerned with a better China and a better world. (Josephine Chiu-Duke, University of British Colombia)

The massacre in Beijing in 1989 turned Liu Xiaobo, almost literally overnight, toward passionate pursuit of democracy, constitutional government, and respect for the dignity of the individual person. The quest has sent him to prison four times, yet he insists that he "has no enemies." Some day, I am sure, his works will be available in China for his fellow citizens to read and discuss. He has never let go of the present, and is sure to win the future. He belongs to China--just as China, in part, belongs to him. (Pu Zhiqiang, rights lawyer, Beijing)

The voice of Liu Xiaobo, though silenced in his motherland, is a voice that conveys the long-cherished aspirations of the Chinese people. It is our good fortune that we now have this voice in English translation which, while faithful to the original meaning, also preserves the power of his original message. (Ying-shih Yu, Princeton University)

Liu Xiaobo's brilliant essays express more than political dissidence in China. They do that too, heroically. But they are also the work of a first rate literary intellectual, whose ideas are of universal value. In three words: sharp, witty, and above all, humane. (Ian Buruma, author of Bad Elements: Chinese Rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing)

I am happy to learn that the selected writings of Liu Xiaobo are being published in a book entitled No Enemies, No Hatred. In 2008, when hundreds of Chinese intellectuals and concerned citizens inspired by Liu Xiaobo signed Charter 08, calling for democracy and freedom in China, I was personally moved and expressed my admiration for their courage and their goals in public. The international community also recognized Liu Xiaobo's valuable contribution in urging China to take steps towards political, legal and constitutional reforms by supporting the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to him in 2010. Considering the writer himself remains imprisoned, this book is a powerful reminder of his courage and his vision for a new China. I believe that in the coming years, future generations of Chinese will enjoy the fruits of the efforts that Chinese citizens today are making towards the introduction of a more open and responsible governance. I would also like to take this opportunity to renew my call to the Chinese government to release him and other prisoners of conscience. (The Dalai Lama)

Freedom of expression may be irritating to some, but its absence is harmful to all. Without the freedom of expression there can be no lasting progress because without critical voices in the society there is no protection against error and abuse in the exercise of power. Liu Xiaobo is paying a harsh price for speaking out. I invite you to read his work, as a tribute to his courage, and as an inspiration for your own. (Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee)

During the Nobel ceremony in December 2010, an empty chair was placed in Oslo City Hall to honor Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, whose outspokenness not only earned him the prize but a prison term as well. The award catapulted him to international stardom, shining a penetrating light on his own imprisonment much as he had often shined light on the troubles of his country. These essays provide an up-to-date account of the country's current political and cultural climate, touching on a wide array of issues from the plight of the Chinese farmer to the eroding spirituality of Chinese youth. The essays are tempered by poems, many of which are interwoven throughout the book to provide a much-needed calming effect. Yet Liu Xiaobo's widespread appeal comes not from his poetry, but in his ability to move beyond platitudes and deal in personal stories--e.g., the tale of a local police department's gross mishandling of the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl and the protests that developed soon after. Equally powerful is the author's assault on China's closed society, noting that while prostitution is technically illegal in China, thanks to sexual suppression, China is now "number one in the world."...For the world that knew Liu Xiaobo only for his empty chair in Oslo, this much-needed book fills the void. (Kirkus Reviews 2011-10-01)

Liu, the 2010 Nobel Peace laureate currently imprisoned in China for "incitement to subvert state power," registers wide-ranging dissent against the Chinese system in these withering essays and stark poems ("From the grins of corpses/ you've learned/ that it is only death/ that never fails"). Included are manifestos and trial statements denouncing China's dictatorship and calling for human rights, free speech, and democracy. Other pieces criticize the subtler corruptions of a repressive society: the frenzied nationalism of the Beijing Olympics; mass evictions and child slavery; soulless urban youth; the craze for Confucius, whom the author views as a mediocrity whose legacy is a Chinese "slave mentality"; the guilty compromises that prodemocracy leaders--himself included--make to protect themselves. Liu's alienation comes through in his strong, if conflicted, identification with Western ideals, Madisonian politics, and crypto-Catholic religiosity ("we will have passion, miracles and beauty as long as we have the example of Jesus Christ")...Though personal and idiosyncratic at times, Liu's ringing universalist defense of democratic rights and freedoms will resonate with American readers. (Publishers Weekly 2011-10-03)

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