Poetry News

Chinese Poet Meng Lang Has Died

By Harriet Staff

The New York Times reports Chinese poet and promoter of dissident writers like Liu Xiaobo, Meng Lang, passed away on December 12 in Hong Kong at the age of 57. The cause of death was lung cancer. In his NYT obituary, Mike Ives explains, "Mr. Meng, whose own writing has been published and translated into many languages, was a co-founder of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, a nonprofit organization formed in 2011 to promote freedom of expression and publication." Picking up from there: 

Mr. Liu, a renegade Chinese intellectual who protected students from encroaching soldiers during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and who won the Nobel Peace Prize years later while locked away, died at 61 in 2017 at a hospital in China while under guard.

Among Mr. Meng’s last projects was an anthology of poems in Mr. Liu’s memory, published this year in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Last year, as the Chinese authorities rebuffed calls by foreign doctors for an ailing Mr. Liu to be allowed to go overseas for medical treatment, Mr. Meng published an untitled poem — later translated into English by Anne Henochowicz for the website China Digital Times— that began with these lines:

Broadcast the death of a nation

Broadcast the death of a country

Hallelujah, only he is coming back to life.

Who stopped his resurrection

This nation has no murderer

This country has no bloodstain.

Soon after, Mr. Liu became the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in state custody since 1938.

Meng Lang was born in Shanghai in 1961 and participated in unofficial poetry movements in China throughout the 1980s, according a biographical sketch published by Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, where Ms. Ho is a founding editor.

He later helped edit the book “A Compendium of Modern Chinese Poetry, 1986-1988,” and was a writer in residence at Brown University from 1995 to 1998. Professor Huang, of Connecticut College, said Mr. Meng moved from the United States to Hong Kong in 2006 and to Taiwan in 2015.

Learn more at the New York Times.

Originally Published: December 18th, 2018