Exiled Author Ma Jian Banned from Visiting China

Author Ma Jian has been refused entry to China on a book-buying trip to Shenzhen. Given the country’s current political climate, he says, this was a development he had feared. From Tania Branigan in The Guardian:

Citing the imprisonment of Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo and the two-month detention of Ai Weiwei, he warned: “There are echoes of the Cultural Revolution, when no sounds could be heard other than the deafening voice of the Communist party. This current clampdown began with the Beijing Olympics. The government discovered that they could suppress all forms of dissent, and still receive the approbation of the international community ….”

“Many people have suggested that the clampdown is connected with an internal jostling for power ahead of the change in government leadership next year, but I think something more fundamental is going on, something relating to the nature of the Communist party itself and the totalitarian regime’s inability to adapt to modernity and to respond to natural yearnings for free expression,” he said.

“My hope is that the Chinese government will come to realise that it is futile to repress free speech, and that contrary to what they believe a regime’s strength rests not its suppression of a plurality of opinions and ideas, but in its capacity and willingness to encourage them.”