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Evening Chats with Perry Link: "The Saga of Liu Xiaobo"

Nov 14, 2018 06:00 pm to 08:00 pm
Organiser: Barbara Mittler, Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies
Institute of Chinese Studies, Room 208

Speaker: Perry Link
Discussants: Liu Chang, Pi Chenying, Joachim Kurtz, Lorenz Bichler

From a Naughty Boy on Stalin Avenue to a Martyred Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize: the Saga of Liu Xiaobo

The clarity and power of Liu Xiaobo’s (1955-2017) essays on Chinese politics, culture, and society are well known, as is his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize while serving an eleven-year prison for “inciting subversion” of the Chinese state.  Less well known is the sinuous path that brought him to the heights he reached.  Born prodigiously intelligent, he had conflicts with his father and his teachers that led him to rebel (and misbehave) as a teenager in the 1960s and again as a graduate student in the 1980s.  Both times he was corralled and softened by a loving wife (Tao Li in the first instance, Liu Xia in the second).  But his conflicts were inside himself as much as between him and his environment.  An urge to misbehave and an urge to criticize himself were both deep in his character.  By 2000 he had struggled his way to stability and to become an idealistic, gentle, and extraordinarily well read pacifist.

Why Evening Chats?  

Chinese intellectuals have a traditional duty, for which there is no equivalent in the West: to worry, to “take responsibility for all under heaven,” to argue the question “What can we do with China?” In his 1992 classic Evening Chats in Beijing, an “utterly absorbing gem of a book” (Library Journal), Perry Link conveys the worries besetting China’s most prominent writers, journalists, scientists, professors, and contentious officials. Link creates “an invaluable opening onto China’s best and brightest hearts and minds” (Kirkus Reviews), allowing the Chinese themselves to tell us what happened in Beijing throughout the Cultural Fever. Now that Perry Link will be in Heidelberg, he is letting us in on his readings of Chinese intellectual fervours and the possibilities of thinking across borders. He will offer a series of interactive lectures where colleagues and students are to take an active part. 

 

Overview of the lectures including all readings:

https://elearning2.uni-heidelberg.de/course/view.php?id=18997

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