The independent Chinese PEN member and Chinese dissident writer Ma Jian was scheduled to give lectures that were to be held in Hong Kong on Saturday November 10. The lectures were cancelled due to unknown reasons. Radio Free Asia reported that this is similar to the experience of the Chinese political cartoonist Ba Ducao, whose solo exhibition in Hong Kong got cancelled earlier.
Ma Jian was scheduled to attend two lectures on Saturday at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival held at Hong Kong’s Grand Pavilion, but he said on a social networking site on Wednesday that “due to unknown reasons” the two literary exchanges were cancelled. He also said that if the event address was changed, he would inform the participants, provided that he was not missing.
According to a Deutsche Welle report, the Hong Kong Grand Assembly explained that they do not want to see the big hall become a platform for any individual to promote their political interests, but will help the organizers to find a more suitable venue. Some in the general public expressed the belief that this was another public event cancelled for politically sensitive reasons.
Ma Jian was originally prepared, during the lectures, to publicize his new book, “The Chinese Dream.” This book is in response to the “Chinese Dream” that Xi Jinping proposed. The work describes “a country facing materialism and violent history.” The British Penguin Press evaluated the book as “creating a biting satire on totalitarianism.”
Many of Ma Jian’s works have been banned in the mainland, including the novel “Beijing Coma” which explores the background of the June 4th Tiananmen Square incident. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages and have been published worldwide. In 2011, the Chinese government also banned Ma Jian from entering the country.
Earlier this month, the Chinese political cartoonist Badiucao (巴丢草)’s first international solo exhibition “Gongle” was also cancelled because the organizers claimed that the Beijing authorities threatened them.
Source: Radio Free Asia, November 8, 2018