(NEW YORK)— In response to news that the U.S. Department of Justice has charged 40 officers of China’s Ministry of Public Security and arrested two New York residents related to the transnational repression of Chinese dissidents located in the United States, Summer Lopez, PEN America’s chief program officer for free expression, issued the following statement:

“Not satisfied with silencing its critics at home, the Chinese government has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to reach across other nations’ borders to threaten, harass, and suppress dissenting voices. But this news is particularly shocking, exposing the lengths to which the Chinese government is going to surveil, silence and deceive residents of the United States, and how deeply they have reached into American communities to work the will of the Chinese Communist Party. Such efforts violate the rights of writers, artists, journalists, and other dissidents in exile, and endanger freedom of speech within democracies. Today’s action by the Department of Justice sends a vital message that the long arm of authoritarianism will not go unchallenged. It is essential that democratic governments forcefully defend against such transnational repression, upholding the free expression rights of those who come to their countries seeking refuge from repressive governments.”

PEN America has long been engaged on the issue of resisting censorious influence on Americans by  foreign governments. Our 2020 report Made in Hollywood, Censored by Beijing helped to document the increasing normalization of self-censorship in Hollywood to comply with Beijing’s requirements. Our CEO Suzanne Nossel has testified before Congress on the transnational effects of Chinese censorship. And our 2015 report Censorship and Conscience was one of the first reports to identify the phenomenon of Chinese-language censorship of translations of foreign literary works.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. To learn more visit PEN.org

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057