Zhou Qing: Punished to Save Them

Zhou Qing is a writer and board member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center who has written several groundbreaking books of investigative nonfiction. Imprisoned for almost three years after taking… More

U.N. Calls on China to Release Liu Xiaobo

Last week, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a panel comprised of independent legal experts, ruled that 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, currently serving an 11-year… More

Success and Silence in Today’s China

Last week, a small group of representatives from PEN American Center and PEN International visited Beijing and Hong Kong, hoping to learn more about the situation for writers and… More

Now it is up to us: Remembering Natalia Estemirova

[caption id="attachment_921" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Natalia Estemirova © 2007 Victoria Ivleva-Yorke"][/caption] Two years ago on this day, the award-winning human rights activist and journalist Natalia Estemirova was found murdered after her… More

Actions Work: Tran Khai Thanh Thuy Released from Prison

[caption id="attachment_676" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Tran Khai Thanh Thuy"][/caption] Last week, PEN centers around the world celebrated the news that Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, a Vietnamese writer and PEN American Center… More

Torture and Our House of Mirrors

I went to Washington last week with China on my mind, but came back preoccupied once again with torture. [caption id="attachment_603" align="alignleft" width="269" caption="House of Mirrors"][/caption] That’s because twice in one… More

Ai Weiwei’s Release Gives Reason for Hope

[caption id="attachment_392" align="alignnone" width="392" caption="Ai Weiwei"] [/caption] We were much relieved to learn that Ai Weiwei was released this week on bail, though we know from the experiences of others in… More

Dear President Obama

Arguing that the United States owes a public debt to those who refused to support or participate in torture, PEN American Center has joined with nine other leading human… More

Give Us Back Our Bahrain

httpv://youtu.be/K8-qOerX3xI The above video captures Bahraini poet Ayat al-Gormezi reciting her poem, “Khalifa” (Prime Minister), at a pro-democracy protest in Pearl Square. She was arrested in March and charged with incitement… More

Words a Cell Can’t Hold

I had imagined being there beneath sunlight / with the procession of martyrs / using just the one thin bone / to uphold a true conviction More