Chinese writer anxious for Karmapa visit to Berlin literary festival

TibetanReview: Prominent Chinese author Liao Yiwu who escaped to Germany last year after several stints in prison in his communist ruled homeland for his writings, has visited India to invite the 17th Karmapa, Ugyen Trinley Dorje, at Dharamshala, to visit Berlin for the International Literature Festival being held there, reported Sep 9. He wants the Karmapa to visit the festival to ‘join in prayers’ for Tibetans in Tibet who have committed self-immolation in protest against the Chinese government policies in their homeland.

Liao is best known for his book The Corpse Walker: Real-Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up which was never allowed to be published in his country. He slipped across the border into Vietnam last year before getting asylum in Germany, had made a strong case for the visit of the Karmapa to Berlin to ‘join in prayers’ for Tibetans in China who have committed self-immolation in protest against the Chinese government policies.

Liao is a guest of honour at the International Literature Festival in Berlin as well as the peace prize winner 2012 of the German Book Trade. He spoke at length about the Karmapa and the self-immolations in Tibet at the opening ceremony of the festival.  He has been trying to get permission for the Karmapa’s visit to Germany for the past few months.

The Karmapa was born in Chinese ruled Tibet and made a dramatic escape from his monastic seat near Lhasa in Dec 1999, arriving in India in Jan 2000. India granted him a residence permit, like in the case of other Tibetans, but tightly restricts his movements, including to his exile seat of Rumtek in Sikkim’s
capital Gangtok. It has permitted him only two overseas visits so far, both to the USA.

Liao met the Karmapa on Sep 9and the latter was reported to be “very anxious” about incidents of self-immolation in Tibet and would love to come to Berlin to “pray for the departed souls as well as the suffering Tibetans”, according to Liao.

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