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.



IPFA 2005 – Shi Tao, Committee to Protect Journalists


Writers in Prison Committee – Shi Tao


The Animal Farm and Others 

By SHI Tao

I am reading Solzhenitsyn’s

The Cancer Ward

But living in Orwell’s

Animal Farm.

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.



Unorthodox Theory


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 Knows.

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 Pain


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?



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