China bars writer from Australia trip: Organisers

China has launched biggest crackdown on dissent in years amid Arab uprising.

Sydney: Chinese authorities have barred dissident writer Liao Yiwu from travelling to Australia for a festival for "security reasons" and advised him against publishing his works abroad, organisers said on Monday.

The outspoken Liao had been slated to appear several times at this month`s Sydney Writers` Festival, including at a forum on the Asian powerhouse`s growing global influence and an event at which he would perform his poetry.

Festival organisers said Chinese officials had denied Liao permission to leave the country to attend the festival, just as it had stopped him from travelling to the United States for a literary festival earlier this year.

The author of "The Corpse Walker", which records the lives of those of China`s forgotten classes including a grave robber and a delusional peasant who believes he is an emperor, was also warned against publishing his works overseas, they said.

"Sydney Writers` Festival is deeply disappointed by this decision," the festival`s artistic director Chip Rolley said.

"Our primary concern is for Liao Yiwu who has been denied the fundamental right to express his views freely.”

"We are astonished by the Chinese government`s additional demand that he not publish his works internationally."

It is not the first time the writer, who is also known as Lao Wei, has been denied the right to leave China.

Last year, the Sichuan-based poet, novelist and reporter was granted permission to travel to Germany for a literary festival but only after officials had prevented 14 previous attempts to leave China.

Rights groups claim Liao has been arrested several times for his criticism of China`s government.

His poetry includes the epic "Massacre", written after the 1989 killing of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, and his books have been translated into English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish.

China has launched its biggest crackdown on dissent in years amid a wave of pro-democracy uprisings in the Middle East.

Bureau Report

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