Wei Reading

DeLillo first read his essay "The Artist Naked in a Cage" at "Readings from Wei Jingsheng's The Courage to Stand Alone," an event intended to raise awareness about political prisoner Wei Jingsheng. It took place on May 13, 1997 at the New York Public Library. C-SPAN2 recorded it and, on July 26, 1997, broadcast the event on the network's "About Books" program (press release). Following is a brief summary.

Speakers (how C-SPAN2 identified each speaker), and any other comments:

1. Kati Marton (Committee to Protect Journalists, Chairman).
2. Arthur Miller (Playwright).
3. Peter Gabriel (Musician). Read from Wei's book.
4. Liu Qiing (Human Rights in China, Chairman), translated by Perry Link (Professor at Princeton).
5. Rudolph Giuliani (Mayor of New York).
6. Rose Styron (Poet). Read from Wei's book.
7. Robert Bernstein (Human Rights Watch, Chairman). Read a letter from Vaclav Havel.
8. short film: Wei Jingsheng: A Voice for Democracy. Directed by Michael Apted. Adapted from the motion picture Moving the Mountain (1997).
9. John Shattuck (State Department - Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor). Read a statement from Madeline Albright.
10. Don DeLillo (Author, Libra and Mao II). Read "The Artist Naked in a Cage" (which was later published in The New Yorker).
11. David Henry Hwang (Playwright). Read from Wei's book.
12. Bette Bao Lord (Author, Legacies: A Chinese Mosaic).
13. George Black (Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, Research and Editorial Director).
14. William Schulz (Amnesty International USA, Executive Director).
15. E. L. Doctorow (Author, Ragtime and The Waterworks).
16. Liu Binyan (China Focus, Editor).
17. Andrew Nathan (Prof. of Political Science, Columbia; Author, Choose Democracy and China's Crisis).
18. Xiao Qiang (Human Rights in China, Executive Director).
19. Kati Marton.

Wei Jingsheng's The Courage to Stand Alone: Letters from Prison and Other Writings was published by Random House at about the time of this event. Some of the people listed above read Wei's letters (collected in the book); others read their own statements. After his role as a leader in the Democracy Wall Movement in the late 1970s, Wei was imprisoned from 1979-1993, and has been imprisoned again since 1994. The Chinese government is denying him access to medical treatment, and Wei may be dying.

For more information about the human rights situation in China and Tibet, and to find out what you can do to aid Wei Jingsheng and the other victims of human rights abuses, and to support the ongoing struggle for democracy in China and Tibet, please contact any of the following organizations:

Human Rights in China

Human Rights Watch/Asia

Amnesty International

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Last updated: 05-MAY-2006