Patrick Henry College
Liao Yiwu, witness against Chinese Communism
Liao, 53, escaped from China earlier this year. Before his departure from China he had been under almost constant surveillance and harassment from the Chinese authorities. Liao had first come to prominence by writing a long poem, “Massacre” in 1989 about the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1990 and suffered grievously from torture and psychological mistreatment.
Like the Russian writer Solzhenitsyn, however, he used his prison time creatively, interviewing dozens of fellow-inmates, just as Solzhenitsyn did in the Soviet Gulag, to document their various grim experiences. His account, published as Testimonials, was predictably banned in China.
Liao’s most recent book translated into English is God is Red, an account of several heroic and saintly Chinese Christians whom he met and interview in China’s remote and impoverished south-west. Liao, though obviously admiring the Christians he met, was not himself a Christian. Dr. Aikman wrote in Christianity Today, “If you want to read one book that sums up the glory of the Christian witness under persecution and the tragic 20th-century story of China's Christians, read God Is Red. Brilliant and immensely moving, it will, if anything can, inject new backbone into your own Christian life.”
Liao Yiwu will perform on the Xiao (a Chinese flute) and recite his own gripping Chinese poetry (with translation).