Posts Tagged ‘Gu Gheng’

Amanda Lourens. Liao Yiwu se protes.

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Liao Yiwu


Liao Yiwu is ’n Chinese digter wat vier jaar in die tronk deurgebring het as slagoffer van ’n regime wat volgens hom daarop ingestel is om mense van hulle menswaardigheid te ontneem deur hulle vryheid van spraak en die reg protes te ontsê.  In ’n onlangse onderhoud met The New Zealand Herald sê hy:  Like any totalitarian government, the Chinese Government hopes that every Chinese will be like a pig or animal – just eating and making money without thinking and without any of their own ideas. This way they will be easier to rule […] But we’re not animals. We think independently and have the desire to express ourselves. That’s why the Chinese Government is always wary and paranoid when people start to speak out against their practices.”

Liao het hom gevangenskap op die hals gehaal deur sy literêre protes.  Volgens The New Zealand Herald het sy neerpen en voordrag van die epiese gedig “Massacre” waarin hy die Chinese regering se gewelddadige onderdrukking van die studenteprotes in Junie 1989 op Tiananmenplein aan die kaak stel, tot sy tronkstraf gelei.  (Sy vriend Michael Day skryf egter in ’n inleiding oor die digter dat Liao eintlik eers in Maart 1990 saam met ses vriende gearresteer is nadat hulle ’n kunsvideo (Requiem for the Dead) geproduseer het om ’n paar van Liao se protesgedigte te vergesel.)

Liggame van dooie burgerlikes na die studenteprotes in 1989

Liggame van dooie burgerlikes na die studenteprotes in 1989 


Interessant genoeg het Liao dan ook in die gevangenis verneem van die Chinese digter Gu Gheng, die Chinese dissident wat in 1993 op Waiheke-eiland sy vrou vermoor en homself daarna opgehang het.  Liao – wat in die tronk gemartel is en een keer selfs 23 dae lank met sy hande agter sy rug vasgebind gelaat is – was verbaas oor Gheng se daad: Nieu-Seeland “seemed such a beautful country”.

Tans kritiseer Liao veral sy geboorteland se nuwe beheptheid met ekonomiese welvaart (hy beskryf dit as ’n oppervlakkige beskouing van “to be rich is to be glorious”), terwyl die land se natuurlike hulpbronne en tradisionele waardes vernietig word: “People have lost all their traditional values. They are so single-minded in pursuing money that China has become a big dumpster with all the trashy value systems”.  

Ek plaas graag as twee verskillende vertalings (een deur Wen Huang en die ander deur Michael Day) ’n uittreksel uit die gedig “Massacre”.  Op ’n manier herinner die betrokke gedeelte my aan Uys Krige se “Lied van die Fascistiese bomwerpers”. 



A massacre is happening
In this nation of Utopia
Where the Prime Minister catches a cold
The masses have to sneeze to follow
Martial law is declared and enforced
The aging toothless state machine is rolling over
Those who dare to resist and refuse to sneeze
Fallen by the thousands are the barehanded and unarmed
Armored assassins are swimming in blood
Setting fire to houses with windows and doors locked
Polish your military boots with the skirt of a slain girl
Boot owners don’t even tremble
Robots without hearts never tremble
Their brain is programmed with one process
A flawed command
Represent the nation to dismember the constitution
Represent the constitution to slaughter justice
Represent the mothers to suffocate the children
Represent children to sodomize the fathers
Represent the wives to murder the husbands
Represent the citizens to bomb the city
Open fire, open fire, open fire
Shoot women, students and children
Shoot workers, teachers and venders
Riddle them with bullets
Aiming at those angry faces, shocking faces, contorted faces, despondent faces and tranquil faces
Shoot with abandon
The fleeting beauty of those faces moving toward you like tidal waves
The eternal beauty of those faces heading toward heaven and hell
The beauty of turning humans into beasts
The beauty of seducing, raping and trampling on your fellow citizens
Eliminate beauty
Wipe out the flowers, forest, school campuses, love, and the pure air
Shoot, shoot and shoot…
I feel good and I feel high
Blow up that head
Burn up the hair and the skin
Let the brain erupt
Let the soul gush out
Splash on the bridge, the fence and the street
Splash toward the sky
Blood turned into stars and stars are running
Heaven and earth have turned upside down
Shiny helmets are like stars
Troops are running out of the moon
Shoot, Shoot, Shoot
Humans and stars are falling and running
Indistinguishable, which are humans and which are stars
Troops followed them into the cloud, into cracks on the ground…

We live under bright sunlight
But we have lost our eyesight
We find ourselves on a street, so wide
But no one can take a stride
We stand in a crowd, supposed to be loud
But people open their mouth without sound
We are tortured with thirst
But everyone refuses water.
This unprecedented massacre
Survivors are those bastards.


And another sort of slaughter takes place at Utopia’s core

The prime minister catches cold, the people must cough; martial law declared again and again.

The toothless machinery of the state rolls cowards those who have the courage to

resist the sickness.

Unarmed thugs fall by the thousands; iron-clad professional killers swim in a sea of

blood, set tires beneath tightly closed windows, wipe their army regulation boots

with the skirts of dead maidens. They’re incapable of trembling.

These heartless robots are incapable of trembling!

Their electronic brains possess only one programme: an official document full of holes

‘In the name of the Fatherland slaughter the constitution!

Replace the constitution, slaughter righteousness!

In the name of mothers throttle children!

In the name of children sodomise fathers!

In the name of wives murder husbands!

In the name of urbanites blow up cities!

Open fire! Fire!

Upon the elderly!

Upon the children!

Open fire on women!

On students. Workers. Teachers.

Open fire on pedlars!

Open Fire! Blast Away!

Take aim on those angry faces.

Horrified faces.

Convulsing faces.

Empty all barrels on despairing and peaceful faces!

Fire away to your heart’s content!

These faces char come on like a ride and in the next moment are dead are so


These faces that will he going up to heaven and down to hell are so beautiful!


A beauty chat turns men into strange beasts!

A beauty that lures men on to ravage, vilify, possess, despoil!

Do away with all beauty!

Do away with all flowers!

Forests. Campuses. Love.

Guitars and pure clean air!

Do away with those ideas that enter into error!

Open Fire! Blast away! It feels so good!

Just like smoking a joint.

Going to the toilet.

Back on the base giving the old lady a good fuck!

Open Fire! All barrels! Blast away! Feels good! So good!

Smash open a skull!

Fry the skin on his head to a crisp!

Make the brain gush out.

The soul gush out.

Splash on the overpass. Gatehouse. Railings.

Splash on the road!

Splash towards the sky where they become stars!

Escaped stars!

Stars with two human legs!

Sky and earth have reversed positions.

Mankind wears bright, shining hats.

Bright shining metal helmets.

A troop of soldiers comes charging out of the moon.

Open fire! All barrels! Blast away! It feels so good!

Mankind and stars fall.

Flee together.

Can’t make one out from the other.

Chase them up to the clouds!

Chase into the cracks of the earth and into their flesh and waste them!

Blow another hole in the soul!

Blow another hole in the stars!

Souls dressed in red shirts!

Souls with white belts!

Souls wearing running shoes doing gymnastics to radio!

Where can you run to?

We will dig you out of the mud.

Tear you out of the flesh.

Scoop you out of the air and water.

Open fire! Blast away! It feels good! So good!

The slaughter takes place in three worlds.

On the wings of birds.

In the stomachs of fish.

Carry it out in the fine dust

In countless living organisms.

Leap! Howl! Fly! Run!

Freedom feels so good!

Snuffing out freedom feels so good!

Power will be triumphant for ever.

Will be passed down from generation to generation for ever.

Freedom will also come back from the dead.

It will come back to life in generation after generation.

Like that dim light just before the dawn.

No. There’s no light.

At Utopia’s core there can never be light.

Our hearts are pitch black.

Black and scalding.

Like a corpse incinerator.

A trace of the phantoms of the burned dead.

We will exist.

The government that dominates us will exist.

Daylight comes quickly.

It feels so good.

The butchers are still ranting!

Children. Children your bodies all cold.

Children, your hands grasping stones.

Let’s go home.

Brothers and sisters, your shattered bodies littering the earth.

Let’s go home.

We walk noiselessly.

Walk three feet above the ground.

All the time forward, there must be a place to rest.

There must be a place where sounds of gunfire and explosions cannot be heard.

We so wish to hide within a stalk of grass.

A leaf.

Uncle. Auntie. Grandpa. Granny. Daddy. Mummy.

How much farther till we’re home?

We have no home.

Everyone knows.

Chinese people have no home.

Home is a comforting desire.

Let us die in this desire


Let us die in freedom.

Righteousness. Equality. Universal love.

Peace, in these vague desires.

Stand on the horizon.

Attract more of the living to death!

It rains.

Don’t know if it is rain or transparent ashes.

Run quickly, Mummy!

Run quickly, son!

Run quickly, elder brother!

Run quickly, little brother!

The butchers will not let up.

An even more terrifying day is approaching.




 A voice for China’s bottom rung. 2011. The New Zealand Herald [Internet].  Beskikbaar: 12 November 2011. [2011, 11 Desember].

Liao Yiwu Documents. 2005. Digitale Argief vir Chinese Studies, Universiteit Leiden [Internet]. [2011, 11 Desember].