Writers in Prison (7)
Shi Tao (师涛, born 25 July 1968), a journalist and poet from Changsha, Hunan Province, who wrote for the daily Chinese publication Contemporary Business News, is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Hunan.
Shi also wrote essays calling for political reform that were posted on overseas websites. He was arrested in November 2004 for posting notes about an instruction issued by China’s Propaganda Department to the media on how to cover the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown. After his trial and verdict, it was revealed in September 2005 that Yahoo! had assisted Chinese authorities by supplying information used to convict Shi Tao. Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong), Ltd. furnished the police with Shi Tao’s account holder information, leading to his IP address and facilitating his arrest and conviction.
The Animal Farm and Others
By SHI Tao
I am reading Solzhenitsyn’s
The Cancer Ward
But living in Orwell’s
The calf that tells the truth is dying.
On the oak of truth, a monkey is teaching people to read
A stranger, across his cloth, is
Stroking his skin in pathological changes.
A kindergarten kid is wondering
Why his head has not grown horns.
A passerby is grimly learning
To walk like an elephant.
A crocodile is helplessly watching a great fire
Having dried the pond where it was hiding.
The fruits irrelevant to each other
Are placed in the shops by the street.
But the mermaid who holds the prophecy
Is hiding on Mars
And warming herself by flaming-red stones.
Paint a mad cow in colour,
To get passersby close to nature.
Make the statue of the Great Leader grow rabbit's ears
To let him hear the noises of protests every day.
Keep the beasts of prey and politicians
Together in the same cage.
Get Barbie to water the stairs
Let cigarettes run wild in women's lips.
Love is just a few words of the song
Everybody that controls us
Is just a blind light.
On the street, with anonymously delightful smells
Nostalgic flesh rebels in suspicion against
Desires, causing scars
and producing waste in the body.
Let green reproduce the cry of a bird.
If only this shriek from its trampled death could become
A happy journey, to let Superman fear heights
Observe my crime from a short distance.
The portrait on the wall lost its power of reflection.
Wind blowing through the window could not prevent violence from occurring.
I tormented you wildly for a whole night
Until both of us reached complete exhaustion
Like two kites left after rain.
I was once staring in a fairytale play.
I was once waving my hands
To teach children to sing.
I was once, at moonlit night,
Listening to two crows chatting.
But the truth of tyranny easily struck me down.
Its pain lacked the tenderness of moonlight.
I am struggling in an iron box full of lies,
And trying hard to persuade myself to be a silent patient
By swallowing a breath of anger into the heart of my homeland.
(Translated by Yu ZHANG)
Protesting against the organizers of the London Book Fair 2012 who have not featured in their programme any writers imprisoned by the Chinese regime, this blog will be highlighting one such writer every day leading to the book fair. Although this will only show the tip of the iceberg of today’s ‘literary persecution’ under the rule of the CCP, I hope it will make more people realize the necessity of our daily question: Why haven’t British Council, Reed Exhibitions and London Book Fair invited Liu Xiaobo and other writers imprisoned by the CCP?
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.