Rebel Pepper: "I will continue working hard on creating new cartoons"
19 Apr 2017

2017 Freedom of Expression Arts Award-winning Rebel Pepper was presented an illustration created by cartoonist Aseem Trivedi

Wang Liming, better known under the pseudonym Rebel Pepper, is one of China’s most notorious political cartoonists. For satirising Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and lampooning the ruling Communist Party, Rebel Pepper has been repeatedly persecuted. In 2014, he was forced to remain in Japan, where he was on holiday, after serious threats against him were posted on government-sanctioned forums. The Chinese state has since disconnected him from his fan base by repeatedly deleting his social media accounts, he alleges his conversations with friends and family are under state surveillance, and self-imposed exile has made him isolated, bringing significant financial struggles. Nonetheless, Rebel Pepper keeps drawing, ferociously criticising the Chinese regime.

笔名为“变态辣椒” 的王立铭是一位来自中国大陆的漫画家,以其反共讽刺性漫画而闻名。他因为讥讽习近平以及中国共产党而一而再再而三地受政府迫害。2014年5月,王立铭在旅游日本期间因在中国大陆官媒《人民网》受威胁儿被迫居留日本。中国大陆因想断绝王立铭与其粉丝的关系而删除他社交媒体的账号。他声称与亲戚朋友的交谈总是被监视。他也因为长期独自流亡国外而渐渐地与世隔绝, 陷入经济困境。然而,他并没有放弃以他讽刺性的漫画讥讽共产党。

Hello everybody, my name is Wang Liming and I am a Chinese political cartoonist who is currently living in exile in Japan. I am also known as “Rebel Pepper”. I am very grateful for the recognition of my works and am very honoured to receive this award. Unfortunately, I am unable to personally attend the awards ceremony and the other activities Index on Censorship has in store as there were some issues with my visa.

China has little to no freedom of speech and its people are constantly living in fear under this totalitarian regime. The Chinese Communist Party often portray the Chinese administration as being honourable and righteous and delude the people into believing in this false portrayal.

Political cartoons are significant as I can use my works to peel away the mask of false perfection put on by the Chinese government. The humour and satire employed in my works can also help lighten the mood and dispel the fear that the Chinese people have towards the administration. I feel that these are the key reasons why political cartoons play such an important role in China.

Ever since I came to Japan, I have been able to relish freedom of speech to the fullest.  As such, my works are no longer limited by any external restrictions save for the boundaries of my own imagination.

I would like to especially thank my wife as I would not have been able to persevere to this day had it not been for her unending support and understanding. I would also like to extend my gratitude to my Chinese friends and comrades who sympathise with my struggles and understand why I do what I do. I would also like to thank my Japanese friends who have given me plenty of opportunities to create and publish my works.

I will continue working hard on creating new cartoons – this is the least I can do towards democratising China. Thank you everyone!

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Maldives Independent, the Maldives’ premiere English publication and one of the few remaining independent media outlets, was formed in exile in Sri Lanka in 2004. Read the full profile.

大家好,现场的朋友好,我叫王立铭,是来自中国流亡日本的政治漫画家,我的笔名叫Rebel Pepper。非常感谢评委对我作品的肯定,很荣幸能获得这个奖项,由于我的签证出了一些状况,不能亲自来参加颁奖仪式和一系列的活动,非常可惜。中国是一个没有言论自由的国家,人民长期生活在极权的恐惧之下。中共独裁统治者倾向于把自己塑造成伟大、光荣、正确的虚假的完美形象,政治漫画的意义就变得非常重大,我可以用画笔去揭穿他们虚假的面具,让人们在嘲笑和讽刺的氛围里去消解对极权的恐惧,我觉得这是政治漫画在中国最大的意义。我来到日本之后,享受了充分的言论自由,我的创作不再有任何局限,想象力的边界就是我创作的极限。在这里我要特别感谢的我的太太,是她的支持和理解我才坚持到今天。我还要感谢中国和全世界各地的华人朋友,他们非常同情我的遭遇,理解我创作的想法,我也要感谢日本的朋友们,他们给我提供了很多创作和出版的机会。接下来我还会继续努力创作下去,为中国的民主化进程贡献出我自己的力量。谢谢大家!

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