The 2009 Nobel Literature laureate Herta Müller is an ardent supporter of the 2010 Nobel Peace winner Liu Xiaobo but her calls for his release from jail have rankled with some members of the exiled Chinese community.
Herta Müller has long been an ardent supporter of Liu Xiaobo
In an article published on March 26 in a German daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Romanian-born German writer Herta Müller once again expressed her support for Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese activist who has been in jail for over two years and last year won the Nobel Peace Prize.
She also wrote that ever since she had supported Vaclav Havel’s proposal that Liu Xiaobo, a co-signatory of Charter 08, a manifesto for human rights in China, be nominated for the peace prize, she had received "bad emails" from certain Chinese people living in exile. She said the nature of the emails was "slandering, denunciation and shameless character assassination of Xiaobo."
Liu Xiaobo was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize in absentia
A group of Chinese democracy advocates recently reacted to the article by sending an open letter to Herta Müller that was published by the Siebenbürgische Zeitung.
"She is certainly entitled to voice her support for Liu Xiaobo," the 13 signatories wrote. "However, she used abusive language against those who criticized Liu."
"This assertion and attack of her style was just like that of the propaganda during the era of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania."
"As far as I know, none of the signatories ever sent an email to Frau Müller," Huan Xuewen, a Chinese writer living in Germany and one of the signatories told Deutsche Welle. "If she claims such as thing she has to say what email she got from whom and what was written."
'I have no enemies' In the letter, the Chinese pro-democracy advocates reiterated their "reservations" about Liu Xiaobo. "We believe that he represents a cooperative approach that tries to work with the Chinese Communist regime," they wrote.
Moreover, they criticized his court statement "I have no enemies – my final statement," his alleged praise for the Communist prison as "humane" and "tender" and his supposed claim that "the CCP has made progress in its governing philosophy."
'Against fundamental ethical principles'
Tienchi Martin-Liao thinks that criticism of Liu Xiaobo is inappropriate
But Tienchi Martin-Liao, a Chinese writer and the head of the PEN center in Taipei, defended Liu Xiaobo and Herta Müller. She told Deutsche Welle that the tone of the open letter was "highly offensive" and criticized the allegation that Müller's methods were reminiscent of "Ceausescu’s propaganda machine."
She also said that everybody knew the writer was morally irreproachable and that "her sympathies always lie with the people who live in totalitarian systems."
Martin-Liao also thought that the criticism of Liu Xiaobo was inappropriate and that people who live in freedom should not attack those who are in jail after decades of campaigning for human rights and freedom of expression.
"To attack him over and over again and to criticize him for collaborating with the Communist Party is very indecent. It goes against fundamental ethical principles," she told Deutsche Welle.
Author: Christoph Ricking / act
Editor: Ziphora Robina