The Great Banner Wall of China

This week English PEN has been at the London Book Fair. China was the ‘Market Focus’ country and as such, there were a lot of Chinese state-run stands at the fair.

I joined with activists from the Tibet Society and the Independent Chinese PEN Centre to stage a poetry protest in front of the Chinese Government stands. The poetry we recited earned their authors a ten year prison sentence.

Later, GAPP officials used a load of pull-up conference banner stands to block the protest from view. “The Great Pull-Up Banner Wall of China”. Not a good look, in a trade fair designed to promote openness.

I was also reprimanded by the security guards for holding up a sign saying ‘Free Speech is not a crime’ on carpet owned (or at least, paid for) by the Chinese government.

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