February 25, 2009

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

Nur Bekri
Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional People’s Government
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
2 Zhongshanlu
Wulumuqishi 830041
Xinjiang Weiwuer Zizhiqu
P. R. China

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,300 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to welcome the release of Uighur historian and writer Tohti Tunyaz.

According to our information, Tohti Tunyaz, pen name Muzart, was released from Xinjiang No. 3 Prison in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on February 10, 2009, upon completion of his 11-year prison sentence for his peaceful academic work. Though released, he is still restricted under the two years’ deprivation of political rights that was added to his prison sentence. Mr. Tunyaz’s wife, who has been living in Japan with their children for several years, recently obtained Japanese citizenship and has requested that the Chinese authorities allow her husband to return to Japan for medical treatment and to continue his studies at the University of Tokyo.

PEN American Center welcomes of the release of Tohti Tunyaz, but remains concerned about the restrictions placed upon him. We therefore call upon the authorities to lift all restrictions against him so that he can join his family in Japan, in accordance with Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. We also reiterate our call for the release of all writers imprisoned in violation of their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by international law and China’s own constitution.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

Cc: H. E. Mr. Zhou Wenzhong
Ambassador of the PRC to the U.S.
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the U.S.
2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20007
Fax: (202) 588-9760

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