Open letter by Liao Yiwu (in Chinese and English)
I learned to play the xiao in prison. My master was an 84-year-old monk. When I first entered prison, he had already been there for many years. This monk, who was aloof from worldly affairs, had also committed a kind of age-old crime—participating in a counterrevolutionary reactionary sect—reactionary sects are secret organizations that exist in remote mountainous regions of China. Their source can be traced back several centuries to the Qing Dynasty, where their aim was to resist foreign rule. Because the villagers supported the old monk, he became the head of the sect. However, he kept nothing by his side besides his Buddhist prayer beads, a wooden fish, and a dongxiao. He did not have any weapons of rebellion.
attached to: Liao Yiwu