Chinese author lashes out against censorship in his country

Kolkata, Jan 31 (IANS) Chinese author Murong Xuecun, known as a foremost critic of censorship in his country, Thursday termed the plight of authors there as "extremely frustrating and annoying".

"Writers do not enjoy freedom of expression in China. They are subjected to all sorts of scrutiny," said Murong, speaking via Skype at the second Kolkata Literary Meet here. The author could not make it to the KLM because of some visa issues.

Shedding light on the plight of authors in China, Murong said, through an interpreter: "Situation is extremely frustrating and annoying."

He alleged that there was rigorous editing of "sensitive works".

"Sometimes entre chapters are cut out and sensitive words edited."

Murong, whose real name is Hao Qun, but is more famous in his pen name which he uses in his works, grabbed the spotlight with his debut Chinese work "Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu" that made the long list for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2008.

His writings centre mostly around social issues in contemporary Chine, with corruption, business-government relations being his pet themes.

He was awarded the 2010 People's Literature Prize for his Chinese work "China: In the Absence of a Remedy".

But Murong stole worldwide attention when in his acceptance speech for the prize, he criticized the editor he worked with for the book and also made critical references to the state of censorship in China.

An admirer of Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses", Murong felt it does not matter from which country or region he writes as long as he is allowed to do it.

"There are problems in our country for authors and there are authors who move to other countries to write. But I feel as long as I can write I don't mind the place I am writing from," he said.