New York City, June 16, 2009—PEN American Center protested the continued detention of prominent writer Liu Xiaobo today with a letter to Chinese authorities, citing the clear violation of international and Chinese law. As of June 8, 2009, Liu had been held under “residential surveillance” for the maximum six months permitted under Chinese law and should have been released that day. Instead, police informed his wife, Liu Xia, that the former president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) would continue to be held at an undisclosed location while the investigation against him continues.

PEN has received reports that since June 11, guards have been posted outside the Beijing home of Liu Xia, as well as the homes of ICPC Vice President Jiang Qisheng and constitutional scholar Zhang Zuhua, who was instrumental in the promulgation of Charter 08, the document for which it is believed Liu Xiaobo is being held on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” Neither Liu Xia nor his lawyer, Mo Shaoping, have seen Liu Xiaobo in over two months, and there are growing concerns for his well-being.

PEN American Center is among the 145 worldwide centers of International PEN, an organization that works to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers everywhere, to fight for freedom of expression, and represent the conscience of world literature. It has been working together with the Independent Chinese PEN Center to protest China’s imprisonment, harassment, and surveillance of writers and journalists and to seek an end to Internet censorship and other restrictions on the freedom to write in that country.

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