SEPTEMBER 9, 2013
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 79th World Congress in Reykjavik, Iceland, 9 September to 12 September 2013 Welcomes the release on bail of Jiao Guobiao, and withdrawal of the charges against Chen Pingfu by the prosecutors since the last PEN International Congress in September 2012. Also the early release of journalist and poet Shi Tao on 23 August 2013.
Notes the continuous suppression of the right to freedom of expression throughout China, from its capital city of Beijing to the inland province of Sichuan and Yunnan, to the coastal province of Guangdong and Zhejiang, to the Autonomous Regions of Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia. In addition, the Assembly of Delegates is:
Alarmed by the relentless harassment of and attacks against Chinese intellectuals, particularly the arbitrary arrests of Internet writers and journalists, over 40 of whom are currently imprisoned, making China one of the largest jailers of writers and journalists in the world.
Disturbed by the continuous use of administrative detention, including the infamous “Reeducation Through Labour” (RTL) system, to jail dissident writers for up to four years without the due process guaranteed under its own laws.
Further disturbed by the increasing misuse of China’s Criminal Law to arbitrarily charge dissident writers, outspoken journalists and independent publishers with criminal offences to suppress freedom of expression and the press, in particular “endangering the social/national security”, “(inciting) subversion of state power”, “illegally holding/leaking state secrets” and “illegal business practices”, or alleged “economic crimes”, including the sentencing of CAO Haibo (eight years) and LI Bifeng (12 years), as well as the illegal house arrest of writers and human rights activists.
Worried about the growing censorship of the Internet throughout the country, including blocking the popular social network websites Twitter and Facebook, closure of popular Chinese internet forums discussing sensitive issues, and harassment of online writers and journalists and imprisonment for their publication of critical reports and commentaries on overseas websites.
Shocked by the increasing persecution of Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) members, including the on-going imprisonment of LIU Xiaobo (11 years), , YANG Tongyan (12 years), ZHU Yufu (seven years and ZHAO Changqing (Arrest) ; the interrogation, harassment, threats, attacks, brief detentions, meeting and travel restrictions, passport rejections, and the work and life interruptions of more than 50 members, including JIANG Danwen, ICPC Vice-President and director of Freedom to Write and Literature Exchange Committee, and Mo Zhixu, Board Member and director of ICPC-WiPC, who were banned from traveling out of mainland China; and Dr ZHANG Yu, Vice Secretary-general and Coordinator of Press and Translation Committee and LI Jianhong, Coordinator of ICPC-WiPC, who were rejected to renew their Chinese passport and banned from entering China.
PEN International therefore urges the government of the People’s Republic of China to:
- Stop the harassment and persecution of ICPC members, and lift all restrictions on their freedom to exit and enter mainland China, particularly to attend PEN International conferences and to return home;
- Cease its efforts to censor cyberspace and to immediately release all internet writers jailed for peacefully expressing their opinions;
- Release all prisoners in the autonomous regions of Tibet, Xinjiang Uyghur and Inner Mongolia who have been detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression, including Tibetan writers and journalists Dawa Gyaltsen, Dolma Kyab, Kunchok Tsephel, Paljor Norbu, Tashi Rabten, Kunga Tseyang, Kalsang Jinpa, Jangtse Donkho, Buddha, Dokru Tsultrim and Gangkye Drubpa Kyab; Uighur writers Abdulghani Memetemin, Nurmuhemmet Yasin, Dilshat Perhat, Nijat Azat, Gheyret Niyaz, Memetjan Abdulla and Gulmira Imin, and Mongolian writer Hada (still detained after having served a 15-year imprisonment term);
- Release all writers and journalists in China held solely for the peaceful expression of their views, including LIU Xiaobo, YANG Tongyan, ZHU Yufu, ZHAO Changqing, , KONG Youping, LU Jianhua, XU Wanping, QI Chonghai, LIU Xianbin, WEN Yan, GUO Quan, TAN Zuoren, LI Tie, CHEN Wei, CHEN Xi, GAO Zhisheng, LU Jiaping, JIN Andi, RAO Wenwei, LI Bifeng, CAO Haibo, LIU Benqi, ZHENG Youwu and SHI Weian;
- Ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was signed by the People’s Republic of China in October 1998;
- Engage in a complete and meaningful reform of the Chinese legal system in accordance with international standards and its own Constitution to guarantee fair trials with full rights of defence and appeal, the legal practices of attorneys, and a prison system that ensures the health and safety of inmates; particularly to cease the practice of using the charge of “subversion” against writers and of “holding/leaking state secrets” against journalists; and to abandon without delay the infamous RTL system.