Friday, June 01, 2007

The Case for Literature

Gao Xingjian is right to wonder about the cultural ties to the 2008 Games? Chinese culture is a big void since the Cultural Revolution. Who are they going to invite, the Penchen Lama?

Yale University Press - June l, 2007 -

Since China, the 2008 host, has already violated all its promises to world governments and Olympic officials to restrain its authoritarian suppression of free speech, free politics and free literature under the charmless reign of Hu Jintao—a colorless bureaucrat who doesn’t even break into karaoke like his predecessor—coming up with a cool showing in the “Cultural Olympics” competition should test Beijing’s best minds.

Executing a few dissident writers with bullets to the head, just as the Olympic torch reaches Beijing’s Olympic Stadium, would certainly be an attention-getter. Or, given the inspired dubbing of China’s coming moment by Mia and Ronan Farrow as the “Genocide Olympics” (a nod to China’s support of Sudan’s massacre of its own citizens in Darfur), perhaps an exhibition of Sudanese writers expressing their eternal fraternity with the Chinese people?

Here’s a third suggestion for China’s commissars of cut-rate, cutthroat capitalism: Invite back Gao Xingjian, 2000 Nobel laureate in literature and still the only Chinese writer to win the prize. The Swedish Academy praised Gao “for an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama.” (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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