(New York, NY) – PEN America, the literary and free expression organization, today welcomes the news that Hong Kong’s chief executive has dropped a controversial extradition bill that has sparked months of demonstrations. The following is attributable to James Tager, PEN America’s deputy director of Free Expression Research and Policy:

“This extradition bill threatened to severely degrade the freedoms of Hong Kongers and even those visiting Hong Kong, and we are glad to learn that Chief Executive Carrie Lam has decided to officially withdraw the bill. With that in mind, the Hong Kong government still has far to go in ensuring the right to protest. We join other civil society groups across the globe in calling on Lam to launch an independent inquiry into police use of force against protestors, and to drop the designation of protestors as ‘rioters.’ Hong Kongers should feel free to protest without the fear of police abuse or being tarred as criminals.”

PEN America has long advocated for free expression rights in Hong Kong and previously has called for the country to respect the rights of demonstrators. Read more about the role writers and artists have played in the protest movement.

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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.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892