(NEW YORK)—In response to the announcement from the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office that Taiwan-based publisher Li Yanhe (李延賀), also known as Fu Cha (富察), had been detained on “endangering national security” charges while visiting family in China, Angeli Datt, PEN America’s China research and advocacy lead, issued the following statement:

“Publishing is not a crime and Li Yanhe should be released immediately and unconditionally. His detention is an attack on free expression and another example of the Chinese government’s belligerence towards anyone who stands for the free and open exchange of ideas. Li Yanhe had published books by Chinese dissidents and on subjects that otherwise would have been banned by Beijing. He has given Chinese-language readers access to different ideas and perspectives, including translations of Western authors. His detention is an outrageous attempt to muzzle the work of Gusa Publishing House as the Chinese Communist Party continues to try and silence free expression outside its border.”

Beijing has targeted book publishers in the past. In 2015, five booksellers affiliated with a Hong Kong bookstore disappeared, only to emerge later in mainland Chinese custody–a case known as the “Causeway Bay Bookstore Disappearances.” Publisher and poet Gui Minhai, one of the Causeway Bay 5, is still serving a ten-year sentence on trumped-up charges. Hong Kong publisher Yao Wentian was released from prison in China in March after serving an almost 10-year prison sentence in retaliation for publishing books about Chinese leaders, including a planned exposé on Xi Jinping.

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