February 9, 2012

President of the People’s Republic of China
His Excellency Hu Jintao
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China
Your Excellency,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our concern regarding the sentencing of yet another writer, Li Tie.

According to our information, on January 18, 2012, the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Li Tie to 10 years in prison nine months after he was tried for “subversion” on April 18, 2011. Evidence against him included membership of the banned political group China Social Democracy Party as well as a series of online essays and writings, in particular an article titled “Human Beings’ Heaven is Human Dignity.” His trial was not conducted in accordance with due process or the international standards of fairness, and he has not been allowed to appeal the verdict.

PEN American Center is incredibly alarmed by the continuing crackdown on dissent in China, which has seen dozens of writers, journalists, and human rights defenders arrested in the last year alone in violation of their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 35 of the Chinese constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and calls upon authorities to promote protections for the human rights of its citizens, including the fundamental right to freedom of expression. We believe that Li Tie is one of many writers who were imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression, and we therefore call for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all other writers imprisoned for their writings in China today.

Thank you for your attention to this crucial matter.

Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: H.E. Zhang Yesui
Ambassador of the PRC to the U.S.
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the U.S.
3505 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Fax: (202) 495-2138

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