Dissident slams Chinese politicians' 'dirty wealth'

Chinese dissident writer Liao Yiwu accused China's political elite of accumulating "dirty wealth", saying it had turned his country into "one of the biggest landfills in the world."

"There is wealth in China that only belongs to the powerful political class, that is the truth," Liao told a news conference on Thursday, at the International Book Fair of Guadalajara in western Mexico.

"It is a dirty wealth, that is why I think that China has become one of the biggest landfills in the world," said the author, also known as Lao Wei.

While China has experienced "many changes" and established trade ties with the West, the country's economic development "has not affected" the whole population.

Liao gave the example of the sale of new apartments in a building in his native Sichuan province.

"An ordinary and normal person would have to have worked 100 years to be able to buy just the bathroom of one of these apartments," he said.

Liao, who was escorted by municipal security guards, said the Chinese government had asked the fair's organizers to withdraw his invitation.

The author spent four years in jail after writing the poem "Massacre" about the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. He has lived in Germany since 2010 after successfully defying a travel ban by walking to Vietnam.

In Guadalajara, Liao deepened his criticism of Chinese Nobel Prize-winning author Mo Yan, whom he has accused of being a "state poet" close to the communist regime.

He said that he discussed Mo with Romania's Nobel literature prize laureate Herta Muller recently, and they concluded that the Nobel jury had committed "one of the biggest mistakes" of the award's history.

"In reality, he is a senior Chinese politician. Giving him this prize was a disaster," Liao said.

Mo Yan has been on the defensive against activists who accuse him of being a communist stooge, amid an outpouring of praise from the government in Beijing.

He has also defended Communist Party founder Mao Zedong, who wrote that Chinese art must serve the party.

Liao's visit to Mexico came one month after he collected the German Book Trade Peace Prize, Germany's second highest award.

Liao is also the author of "The Corpse Walker," which records the lives of working-class Chinese, including a grave robber and a delusional peasant who believes he is an emperor. His works are banned in China.

"Journalists are interested in news, the new events. In reality, I'm more interested in the past, for the things and people of the past," he said in Guadalajara, adding that one of his favorite subjects is "the people abandoned by society."

Most Popular in Americas