Entertainment & Arts

Mario Vargas Llosa slates dictatorships on China trip

Mario Vargas Llosa
Image caption Mario Vargas Llosa is on a nine-day academic tour of China

Peruvian Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa has criticised authoritarian governments while addressing students in China.

The writer told an audience at Shanghai International Studies University that politics "should not be left only in the hands of politicians".

"Dictatorial and authoritarian" governments corrupt society, he added.

The writer did not refer to China directly, however, and state-controlled media did not carry his comments.

Reports instead focussed on Vargas Llosa's sentiments on literature and how endless media interviews after winning the Nobel Prize for literature last October had disrupted his work and life.

The author is on an academic tour of China after being named an honorary professor at the university.

Vargas Llosa said he wanted his 1969 novel Conversation in the Cathedral to show "how a dictatorial and authoritarian government corrupts all the society".

He added it "effectively poisons the less political activities, those activities that are further from politics, corrupting and degrading them".

"Every single citizen should participate in the political life of his time. And from that participation the best choices can result," he said.

Last year, Vargas Llosa spoke out against the Chinese government in support of jailed Nobel Peace Prize-winner Liu Xiaobo, who China says is a criminal.

The author called Liu "a Chinese fighter, who is a champion of democracy in his country" after he was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment in 2009 on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power.

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