BEIJING – Wang Lixiong, a prominent Chinese novelist known for his critical views of the government’s policies toward ethnic minorities, says he was barred from leaving for Japan at a Beijing airport on the grounds that his visit could endanger “state security.”
Wang, who returned to his home in the capital, told Kyodo News on Thursday that his departure from the airport was blocked Wednesday, with authorities citing reasons such as his support for Tibet’s independence in cooperation with the Dalai Lama, and saying his trip would harm national interests and security.
“I was prohibited from leaving the country before, but this is the first time it was clearly on national security grounds,” he said. “I believe this is a new way of controlling human rights lawyers and other dissidents.”
After traveling to Tokyo and Hokkaido, the 62-year-old writer was planning to travel to Taiwan to see its presidential and legislative elections in January. The ruling Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) is predicted to lose to the independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party.
Wang’s more than 10 books are all banned in mainland China.
His writings on democracy, Tibet and China’s far-western region of Xinjiang, which has been roiled in recent years by ethnic tensions between Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese, are well received in Hong Kong, Taiwan and foreign countries.
The Japanese translation of his famous science-fiction novel “Yellow Peril,” which depicts the collapse of the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, went on sale just last month.
Wang is married to Tsering Woeser, a famous Tibetan writer. She writes in Chinese and is also often critical of the Communist Party in her work.
In July 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was visiting Beijing for high-level talks with China, planned to meet with the couple. but Wang and Woeser were placed under house arrest by the Chinese government.