Author Ma Jian links Nobel Peace Prize, Bali

This year’s seventh annual Ubud Writers & Readers Festival featured Chinese writer in exile Ma Jian, who I interviewed for Asia Times. The author of Beijing Coma, Ma has chosen to write books about China from outside, going back only for visits that he reports include frequent questioning by police.

Coincidentally, while Ma was in Bali, fellow democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to change the system from inside China. It’s fruitless to debate whether Ma or Liu is working most effectively to win freedom for the People’s Republic of China. It’s much more important to remember, and beyond debate, that Beijing’s rulers and their Communist Party are responsible for suppressing freedom and democracy in China.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.

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7 Responses to “Author Ma Jian links Nobel Peace Prize, Bali”

  1. Richard J. Johnson Says:

    I have copied some of Ma Jian’s statements as I believe I might use them in subsequent book (with proper citations). But being originally a “Jersey” kid, I am extremely interested in Mr. Cohen’s background. With the name Mohamed Cohen, one is naturally curious.

    • Muhammad Cohen Says:

      Thanks for your comment. You can read all about my background on this blog’s biography page.

      I also interviewed Ma Jian for the Wall Street Journal Asia, but haven’t seen the article yet. One bit about Ma that I discovered in Ubud not in my articles: he and his wife/translator Flora Drew have four children, including one year old twins. That’s quite a protest against Beijing’s one child policy.

    • Muhammad Cohen Says:

      Many thanks for your interest. Please take a look at my bio page for the full scoop. I worked in Jersey on Bill Bradley first Senate run and dated a teacher in Weehauken who thought she was Bruce Springsteen.

  2. Parina Lalchandani Says:

    Hi Mr.Cohen,

    I don’t know if you remember me but I talked to you and Mr.Gatsiounis outside Neka at the Ubud Writers’ Festival on Friday. I’m one of the students from JIS who asked you for a picture as we were about to go on the bus, if you remember.
    Anyway Mr.Cohen, I was looking to hear more feedback from you regarding journalism as a career. Could you please give me your email?
    🙂 Thanks a lot!
    -Parina 🙂

    • Muhammad Cohen Says:

      Dear Parina,
      Thanks for your notes. I enjoyed talked to you, and hope you enjoyed the rest of the festival. If you have what it takes to be a reporter (and you were clever enough to find my blog), you should be able to find my email address.

  3. Parina Lalchandani Says:

    Oh, and Mr.Cohen, I don’t know if you remember, but we also talked about Ma Jian and his child-raising habits, I’ll call them 😉 Thanks a lot for the interesting conversation! Oh, and I can send you the picture of us if you’d like it 🙂

  4. School for bombers grad fights terrorism « Muhammad Cohen on media and more Says:

    […] Muhammad Cohen on media and more Views on the news and Asia from the author of Hong Kong On Air « Author Ma Jian links Nobel Peace Prize, Bali […]

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