Dinah Lee Küng, D. L. Kung, and...

To hold a pen is to be at war, Voltaire



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GONE UNDERCOVER
July 2014

Take "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" and merge it with "Quo Vadis" and you get the flavor of my latest undercover fiction venture. It's great to publish a new series of novels under a man's name, to see the three books out so far finding readers around the world, (and to free my long-suffering friends from having to pretend they read my books.) You won't see these genre babies promoted on this webpage, and until I take a break from the glories (and horrors) of the fourth century, that means that there won't be any news coming from this site about particular books.

Suffice to say that the fourth novel is undergoing its first revision and the fifth is already drafted, with two more planned out, taking us to the death of Julian the Apostate and the serious fraying of the Western Empire.

I laughed when I saw that John Banville wrote his Benjamin Black thrillers in a fraction of the time he wrote his literary prizewinners, leaned back from his keyboard, looked in the mirror and said to himself, "You slut."

So, sluttishly, I say hi to anyone who might have stumbled here and continue to be contactable at the email in the sidebar.
Yours, slutty and productive,
(Secret Pen Name)


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Order the paperback from eyesandears.editions@gmail.com. For e-books, click on the book image to go to amazon.com/amazon.uk to buy a Kindle or go to www.Smashwords.com, for all other formats like iPad, Sony, Kobo and Diesel.

Order the paperback from eyesandears.editions@gmail.com. For e-books, click on the book image to go to amazon.com/amazon.uk to buy a Kindle or go to www.Smashwords.com, for all other formats like iPad, Sony, Kobo and Diesel.

Mont Blanc, Europe's tallest mountain, directly opposite my kitchen sink...February 7, 2011
To all those superior city types who incessantly ask me, "After London and Hong Kong and New York, how can you stand it? Do you STILL live in that village up in the mountains? I'm making no apologies. Show me the view from your kitchen window and I'll show you mine, here.

He Depu is OUT at last. Wishing him a well-deserved rest! First photo of him at home in Beijing

January 27, 2011
At last, PEN Suisse Romand's Honorary Prisoner, Chinese writer and political voice He Depu, has completed his eight years' imprisonment in Beijing No. 2. He was released January 24. Insisting he was a free man, he declined to be bundled into a police van without a fight, sustained some injuries at the hands of the police, and no doubt some struggles wll continue for him, particularly with the restrictions the authorities have imposed on his speech and civil rights. But he and Jia Jianying, his loyal and courageous wife, can at last enjoy the simple pleasures of being together after so long.

Sponsoring Mr. He Depu was always more my privilege than of any material help to him. Over the last five years, his perseverance and the bravery of his wife and son in enduring their own unofficial isolation at the hands of the Chinese Communist authorities, has served as an inspiration to me. Moreover, the tables unexpectedly turned in 2009, when my health took a terrible turn and it was this Chinese couple, whom I have still never met, who sustained me with their wishes of support and encouragement. As I joked with my doctors, you know you're pretty sick when you're getting "get well" messages and sympathy from somebody in Beijing Prison 2!.
I'm confident that the Year of the Rabbit is going to be a better year for all of us, and although I've lost a very special correspondent, the world has regained an important voice for Chinese democracy.

Here's the press release from China Human Rights Defenders:
Democracy Activist He Depu Released After Eight Years in Prison

On January 24, He Depu (何德普), Beijing dissident and one of the founding members of the banned China Democracy Party, was released from prison after serving an eight-year sentence for "subversion of state power." He reported that, shortly after leaving the prison, he was involved in a physical confrontation with a police officer who sought to take him to a local police station. Though He's hand was injured, he was allowed to return home and is not in police custody as of the time of writing. Reportedly, friends and fellow activists were warned not to meet with He following his release, and his wife Jia Jianying (贾建英) was called in for a "talk" with police ahead of her husband's release.

JAN 17, 2011
Can it be only one more week, and He Depu actually walks out of Beijing Prison No. 2, having completed his sentence at long last?
it seems so long since we took up his case at PEN Centre Suisse Romand and what little we did, it wasn't enough for someone who's suffered so much for the simple "crime" of running for office under the Democracy Party banner and being tortured to "confess" state subversion for believing in the future of a democratic China.

One more week...

JUSTICE AGAIN DENIED HE DEPU, PEN S.R.'S HONORARY PRISONER
GENEVA, November 2, 2010

If there were any justice in the "people's" China, tomorrow would be the long-awaited day of release for PEN. Suisse Romand's Honorary Writer in Detention, He Depu. He has served exactly all eight years of his sentence on a conviction based illegally (under Chinese law) on evidence obtained through torture. His immediate release was demanded by the UN Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak years ago — to deaf diplomatic ears at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Unfortunately, Mr. He won't be walking out of Beijing No. 2, Cell 17 tomorrow because the Chinese courts have refused to acknowledge or credit him the 85 days of police detention, torture and beatings prior to his conviction. They intend to continue incarcerating him until January 24, 2011. Their reason? His wife's failure to provide "sufficient evidence" that he served time strapped to a "shackleboard' being battered by the Beijing cops.

His wife has registered a second appeal. Meanwhile, during a brief conversation in prison with his wife in recent weeks, Mr. He was nonetheless upbeat, saying, "I'm proud to be wearing the same uniform as (Nobel Peace Prizewinner) Liu Xiaobo and to be carrying the same charge on my shoulders." That charge of state subversion in 2002 was laid on Mr. He for the "crime" of running for political office under the banner of the China Democracy Party.

OCTOBER 31, 2010 A BRILLIANT READ.
This amazing laywer with the Beijing Huaji Law Firm got dragged into the Fengtai Public Security Bureau in Beijing and what resulted is his defiant, funny and revealing Twitter'ed transcript of the political quarrel between him and the deputy boss of the Fanjiacun Police Station. In English, translated by China Digital Times, here is another visit to Kafka Land, otherwise known as the post-Nobel world of the Chinese intellectuals being detained on the mainland. This guy is someone to watch!

WHERE IS DING ZILIN?
Ding Zilin, the 74-year-old head of Tiananmen Mothers, who strongly supported the Nobel award for Liu Xiaobo, has now been held incommunicado, (thought to be in Wuxi,) since October 8, 2010.
Is the Chinese government so weak, it's afraid of the voice of a single little old lady?

JULY 8, 2010
On behalf of our PEN Centre Suisse Romand I have the pleasure and privilege of nominating our Honorary Prisoner, Chinese Writer in Detention He Depu, for the inaugural Liu Xiaobo Courage to Write Award of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. The final decision will be announced on November 10, the global Writers in Prison Day. We wish all the nominees good health and strong spirits.

February 2010 started the Year of the Tiger with news that The American Library (Geneva) awarded First Prize in their 2009 creative writing contest to Küng's radio monologue, "Lady Macbethad's Epilogue," in which we hear a sympathetic and triumphant backstory to the Macbeth legend.

Küng's sixty-minute radio play, "Dear Mr Rogge," based on the couragous defiance of Chinese writer in detention, He Depu, received a commendation August 21, 2009, from the BBC World Service/​British Council 2009 International Playwriting Competition in which there were 1,200 entries. Congratulations to the two first prizewinners, detailed in the link below, whose plays will be produced and broadcast on the World Service. Also thanks to the BBC for sponsoring radio playwrights from all over the world.

He Depu's Year of the Tiger message from Beijing Prison #2, Cell 17
February 24, 2010, New Year's reflections by He Depu, Chinese Writer in Detention, Honorary Prisoner, PEN Centre Suisse Romand

China is celebrating its New Year in a few days. I remember spending New Year's Eve at home. (Perhaps beccause of my work in the democracy movement,) I often felt depressed and could not cheer up. Especially when I saw images on TV of pious pilgrims waving flowers and colored ribbons dancing, and singing, wholeheartedly greeting the New Year, I found it particularly difficult to feel cheered. At those moments, as a Democracy Movement veteran, I often asked myself: the Chinese democracy movement, those who wrote on the Democracy Wall, who gathered on the Square, those comrades who were arrested, where are they now? How are their families doing? Those heroes are in prison now because they stood up for freedom and democracy, while I wallow "in a sea of happiness". I felt so helpless. I felt guilty and ashamed. But those feelings of shame and guilt propelled me forward.
The New Year of 2010 is the eighth New Year I'm spending in prison. Although the living conditions here are so much worse than living at home, yet I feel most tranquil. This is because I don't get into self-blame from feelings of shame or neglect of my social responsibility.

I can stand up straight and hold my head high and say the truth, uphold my principles as a human being, giving my all. After the experience of all these years, I understand many things, many problems, things and problems that those who have not had prison experience do not understand.

When I am free again, I will take my time and tell you.
All these years, my strongest feeling is that family members, compared to those in jail, have a much harder life, much worse hardship. They are the weakest people in society. Not only are they dirt poor in terms of their economical situation, but in terms of politics they carry the burden of discrimination (such as the fact that the children of our families are not allowed to take exams for certain departments). Sometimes even their own mobility is restricted. Because of their family members in jail, they pay a dear price— too dear. Without their commitment,
we cannot accomplish the smallest things. To express my deep admiration for them, I have written a little poem for you and for our families. The poem is not good, but it expresses my heart's wishes.

Beautiful flowers in a dream
Pristine, pure, flawless
They blossom in hot summer, severe winter, against the harsh wind.
The whole world turns toward them in unison of praise.

23 February. (from Mrs Jia Jianying)

I went to see Depu. His spirits are good. He is very optimistic. He loves to hear greetings from friends. This time nearly everything I told him was New Year greetings from friends. He was very happy. He even asked me how Liu Xiaobo was doing and whether I had given him the quilted blanket.
When I said: I have helped Liu Xia finish the quilted blanket, he was so happy.
He again reminded me to write to you. He wants to tell you he is doing fine and that you should not worry, and he thanks you. When he gets out, he wîll actually say his thanks to you.
I too was feeling so helpless when I received your support and help. I have always felt deeply grateful.
I hpoe you and husband enjoy good health and happiness. Hope your children enjoy happiness.
Thank you.
He Depu's wife Jia Jianying
24 February 2010


亲爱的李青女士:
您好!
前天,我收到了德普的来信,他写道:再过几天中国又将迎来新春的第一天。我记得在家中往年大年三十的晚上,(或许是我从事民运工作的缘故)时常有心绪沉郁、高兴不起来的感觉,特别是电视屏幕上出现信男善女手持彩带和鲜花载歌载舞,尽情欢乐迎接新春的场景时,我更是高兴不起来,那些片刻中,我作为一名老民运战士多次自问自己,中国民运何时。。。。。。民主墙边、广场之上、被逮捕的同志如今他们身在何方?他们的家属近况怎么样?那些铁窗之下的牢中志士此时此刻正在为自由、民主而坐牢,而我现在身陷“欢乐的海洋”之中,对此,却又无能为力,真有愧疚之感和自责之心。可能正是那种愧疚的和自责驱使我走到了前沿。。。。。。2010年的春节是我在监狱里度过的第八个新年。这里的生活环境与家中相比虽然发生了逆转,但我的心很坦然,因为我没有感到有愧对社会责任之感和自责胆怯之心。挺直腰杆讲真话,堂堂正正做人是我的原则,对此我尽力了。经过这么多年的磨练,我命白了许多事情,许多问题,没有进过监狱的人是搞不清楚的,等我自由之后,我会慢慢地讲给你。
这几年来,我最大的感受之一就是:家属和狱中人士相比,要苦得多,难得多。她们在社会上是最弱的群体之一,经济上不但贫瘠,政治上也背负着潜在的歧视(如孩子不准报考进入某部门等)甚至行动都受到限制,为了狱中的亲人,她们付出了辛劳太多、太多。没有她们的参与,我们一件事都办不成。为了向她们表达内心中的那份深深的敬意,写了一首小诗献给你和我们的家属们。词写得不好,只表示心意。
《公心赞》
梦中那些美丽的花,洁白如玉璧无暇。酷暑严寒迎风开,举世同仰公心赞。

2月23日,我去看德普了,他的精神很好,也很乐观,朋友们的问候,是他最喜欢听的。我这次对他说的几乎全部都是春节时朋友们的问候,他高兴极了。还问我刘晓波怎么样了,是不是给他送去被褥了。当我说道:我已经帮助刘霞做好棉褥了,他特高兴。
他还特意嘱咐我给您写信,告诉您:他很好,让您放心,谢谢您!他出来后会亲口对您说谢谢。
我也是在很多次无助的情况下,收到您的支持和帮助,心理一直非常感激!
祝您和您的丈夫健康!快乐!平安!祝您的儿子、女儿快乐!幸福!
谢谢!
何德普的妻子:贾建英



After twenty years' reporting from Asia for Business Week, the Economist, Washington Post and International Herald Tribune, Dinah Lee Küng traded in her reporter's notebook for family life in the Geneva area. She has published nine novels.

In his introduction to the March 2009 "Cambridge Companion to Voltaire," editor Nicholas Cronk includes "A Visit From Voltaire" as one of five noteworthy modern fiction works inspired by the "protean" Voltaire since 2000; "In the tradition of the best self-help novels, Voltaire teaches her how to live a happy and full life." What an unexpected honour for my comic fiction to be included in a definitive academic reference about Voltaire and his influence down the centuries.