Sha, known as a forthright voice on cultural and political affairs, said most of the plays in the mainland over the past 40 years lacked quality, with good works appearing only occasionally.
“‘The main reason is there is no freedom of literary creation in China,’ he said.
“Culture was a political tool in authoritarian regimes such as China, he said. Under such a system, ‘true culture is almost impossible’.
“People working in the cultural sector, especially the outspoken ones, are often under strict government control, he said. Many writers are not allowed to publish their works, or are arrested for fabricated crimes, while some writers are forbidden from leaving the country.”
“Many of his works are banned on the mainland, including one of his most controversial plays The Imposter (If I were Real). Based on a true story, the play examines corruption within the Communist Party after the end of the Cultural Revolution.
It opened to wide acclaim in Shanghai in 1979, but has never been officially performed on the mainland due to its critical take on the party.
“I am Chairman Mao’s Bitch, which focuses on the relationship between Jiang Qing and her husband Mao Zedong, was written in 1991 but only arrived in Hong Kong in 2010.”
“Wang is widely seen as a reformist within the party. ‘We must abandon the idea that people’s happiness is granted by the party and government,’ he said in May.
“It would have been impossible to state such an argument previously on the mainland, Sha said.
“Bo was removed from his post as Chongqing party secretary in March and later stripped of Politburo membership for ‘serious breaches of party discipline.’ He was said to have run roughshod over the rule of law in a controversial anti-triad campaign.
Although Bo’s fall presented a crisis, Sha said it showed political reform was possible.Read the full SCMP report
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