New York City, February 25, 2011—The Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) today released a statement reacting to a wave of arrests of its members in China, including renowned lawyer Teng Biao and Ran Yunfei, calling them “new victims of a literary inquisition.”

In its statement, which follows, ICPC notes that Teng Biao, the center’s legal consultant, was detained after his Beijing home was raided on February 19. He has not been heard from since. Sichuan-based member Ran Yunfei was arrested the same day, and reports suggest that he is being charged with “subversion of state power,” a serious offense that could lead to a long prison term. Wu Wei (pen name Ye Du), ICPC’s webmaster, was detained and then forced to travel, and ICPC’s web site has been shut down in an apparent cyber-attack. Several other members have been detained, harassed, or put under house arrest. The organization is calling for an end to the crackdown, including the lifting of all restrictions placed on Liu Xia, the wife of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who has been incommunicado since October 18, 2010, and recently sent out a plea for help.

The Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) was founded in 2001 by leading dissident writers both inside and outside China specifically to advance PEN’s mission and values in the People’s Republic of China. With a membership of approximately 300 writers, half of them living and working in China, ICPC has become an effective and internationally-recognized advocate for free expression on the mainland, and has frequently been a target of governmental censorship, harassment, and intimidation. Liu Xiaobo is a former and honorary president of the center.

 

ICPC Statement on the Incommunicado Detention of Liu Xia and Detention of Dr. Teng Biao and others

February 25, 2011

The Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) expresses concern for the health and living conditions of Liu Xia, wife of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who has been cut off from any contact with the outside world since October 18, 2010. Liu Xia sent out an urgent call to friends on February 19, saying that she could no longer stand the forced isolation.

During her incommunicado house arrest, Liu Xia’s phone and internet have been disconnected and her cell phone confiscated. She is not allowed to leave her apartment or receive any visitors, including members of her own family. Security police are parked in front of her building, and they are apparently doing her grocery shopping for her. “I will go crazy,” she said in her message, sent within the few moments that she successfully secured an Internet connection.  

ICPC strongly protests the detention of Dr. Teng Biao, renowned lawyer and legal consultant to the Writers in Prison Committee of ICPC, whose home was searched and who was then detained on the afternoon of February 19.

According to ICPC’s information, Teng Biao was taken from his home by police on the afternoon of February 19. Police searched his home for more than two hours and confiscated two computers, a fax machine and printer, documents, books, and a CD containing documentaries and photos. Police set a mobile phone signal shielding device during the raid so that Teng Biao was unable to make or receive calls. He is being held incommunicado and no official notice of detention has been delivered to his family, as required under Chinese law.

Dr. Teng Biao, lecturer of China University of Political Science and Law, is one of the three well-known lawyers who initiated a constitutional review of the “custody and repatriation system” after Sun Zhigang’s death in 2003. In recent years, he has been involved in a series of cases as a human rights lawyer. He won the French Republic Human Rights Award in 2007.
 
ICPC has also learned about the following arrests and detentions:

  • Writer Ran Yunfei of Chengdu was taken from home by police on February 19.

  • Our most recent information suggests that he was formally arrested for “subversion of state power.”

  • Human rights lawyers Tang Jitian and Jiang Tianyong were kidnapped by Beijing police on February 16 and 19, respectively, and their whereabouts are unknown.

  • Human rights defender Ding Mao in Sichuan Province has been detained since February 19.

  • Ding Fangguan (pen name Gu Chuan) in Beijing has been detained since February 19.

  • Human rights defender Chen Wei in Sichuan Province was detained on February 20 and his home was raided. He was then formally arrested for “inciting subversion of state power” on February  21.

  • Human rights defender Hua Chunhui in Jiangsu Province was detained on February 21 and formally arrested for “inciting subversion of state power” on February 22.

  • Liang Haiyi in Harbin was detained on February 20 and then formally arrested for “inciting subversion of state power” for publishing “sensitive information” on the Internet.

  • Human rights lawyer Liu Shihui in Guangzhou was beaten by several unidentified persons on the afternoon of February 20 near his home. His legs were injured and he was sent to the hospital for treatment by his friends.

  • Human rights lawyer Tang Jingling in Guangzhou was taken from his home by police and lost contact on the morning of February 22.

  • ICPC Honorary Board Member and Professor of Shandong University Sun Wenguang was placed under house arrest on February 20.

  • Wu Wei (pen name Ye Du), ICPC’s Network Committee coordinator and the organization’s webmaster, has been taken from his home by police and forced to “travel” since February 22.

  • ICPC Vice Secretary General Jiang Danwen in Shanghai was detained on February 20 and released later that day.

  • ICPC alternate Board Member Mo Zhixu and member Liu Di in Beijing have been warned, summoned, and monitored.

  • Zhu Xinxin, Zhang Lin, and Hu Shigen in Beijing have been warned, summoned and monitored.

  • More than one hundred other dissident writers, lawyers, and activists have been harassed, summoned, kidnapped, and put under house arrest.

At the same time Boxun, Canyu and ICPC’s web sites have gone dark, presumably as a result of a cyber-attack. The Chinese government has launched a large-scale crackdown since the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, ICPC’s former and honorary president. It is believed that the crackdown is related to the “Jasmine Revolution,” which was initiated in 13 cities in China on February 20.

ICPC believes that all citizens have the right to freedom of expression, including expression on the Internet, freedom of demonstration, and freedom of assembly. These rights are guaranteed in the Chinese Constitution. The suppression of all these rights has violated Article 35 of Chinese Constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed. ICPC strongly protests the recent arrests, harassment, and crackdown. It is extremely concerned about Teng Biao, Ran Yunfei, Chen Wei, Wu Wei, and others who may become new victims of this literary inquisition.

We urge Chinese authorities to end their inhumane treatment of Liu Xia, release her from isolation, allow her to visit her husband in jail, and allow her to have contact with the outside world. We urge the authorities to end their crackdown and release our colleagues, including Teng Biao, Ran Yunfei, Chen Wei, Wu Wei, Hua Chunhui, Liang Haiyi, and all others immediately.
 
PEN International is the oldest human rights organization and international literary organization. The Independent Chinese PEN Center is among its 145 member centers and aims to protect Chinese writers’ freedom of expression and freedom to write worldwide and advocates for the rights of Chinese writers and journalists who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted or harassed.
 
For more information, contact
Tienchi M.-Liao, President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC)
Dr. Yu Zhang, Executive Secretary and WiPC Coordinator(ICPC)

Tel: 49-221-8015 8705 + 46-8-50022792      
Email: secretariat@chinesepen.org, wipc@comhem.se
Web sites: http://www.chinesepen.org and http://www.liuxiaobo.eu/

Larry Siems, (212) 334-1660 ext. 105
Sarah Hoffman, (212) 334-1660 ext. 111