February 6, 2008

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

Procurator General Mr. Jia Chunwang
Supreme People’s Procuratorate
Beiheyan Street 147
100726 Beijing
P.R. China

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,400 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 grave concern regarding the detention of writer and human-rights activist Lu Gengsong.

According to our information, Lu Gengsong was arrested in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, on August 24, 2007, following the online publication of articles critical of the authorities. His home was searched and his computer and personal files were reportedly confiscated. Lu Gengsong was formally charged on September 29, 2007, with “inciting subversion of state power,” a charge that is often used to silence dissidents. He was tried behind closed doors on January 22, 2008, and sentenced to four years in prison by the Hangzhou City Intermediate People’s Court on February 5, 2008. Lu is currently being held at the Xihu (West Lake) Detention Centre in Hangzhou City.

PEN American Center believes the arrest and detention of Lu Gengsong stems from an increase in governmental intolerance of dissent and an increase in the harassment and arrest of writers in advance of the 2008 Olympics, which we view as a violation of Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. We therefore respectfully call for the immediate and unconditional release of Lu Gengsong, as well as the release of all other writers detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

Thank you for your attention.

Hannah Pakula                  
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee   

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: Ambassador ZHOU Wenzhong 
2300 Connecticut Avenue
NW, Washington, DC 20008
Fax: (202) 328-2582

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