Chinese writer is ironic about the usage of his photo on news about a spy

Ma Jian

Ma Jian

Today, the exiled Chinese writer Ma Jian was ironic regarding the use of his portrait to illustrate the news of the sentencing to life imprisonment of the former deputy chief of Chinese espionage, his namesake.

"Not satisfied to share the same name, the corrupt espionage boss Ma Jian, former deputy minister of the agency responsible for my exile, still usurped my face", said the writer on the social network Twitter.

Former deputy minister of Public Security Ma Jian, who worked in China's top spy agency for more than 30 years, was convicted on Thursday by a Chinese court over corruption and usage of inside information.

The two men share the same name, which has prompted several media to use the photo of the writer to portray the news about the conviction of the former spy.

"My children were surprised to learn that I am not the author of 'China Dream' [the author's most recent work] (...), but rather a former master of espionage, who has just been sentenced to life imprisonment, for accepting 'extremely big bribes'", he writes ironically in another message on Twitter.

The books of Ma Jian, who lives in London, were banned in China after his novel on the journeys of a young Chinese journalist to Tibet was classified by the Chinese Communist Party as "spiritual pollution"


Six years ago, the writter was able to return to the Asian country to attend his mother's funeral after receiving an exceptional permit, signed by Ma Jian, the deputy spy chief now convicted.

"It is worthy of Kafka, Ma Jian giving permission to Ma Jian", the author said.

The author is a strong critic of the Chinese regime, who he accuses of having built the "totalitarian world prophesied by [novelist] George Orwell."