(NEW YORK)– PEN America joined 63 other NGOs around the world today calling for the release of prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Lu Siwei, who was detained by Lao authorities while en route to join his family in the United States.

Southeast Asian governments have frequently been pressured into forcibly returning vulnerable individuals back to China, where they have faced arbitrary detention, unfair trials, torture, enforced disappearances, and other ill-treatment.

Lu Siwei is a renowned rights defender and lawyer in China, who was disbarred in January 2021 for his online writing.

The statement from the NGOs stated: “We call on third-party governments to ask Lao authorities to immediately halt Lu Siwei’s repatriation and to move quickly to ensure he has access to the relevant UN authorities and a lawyer of his choice; and to publicly call on Chinese authorities to drop any potential charges against Lu Siwei.”

READ the full statement here.

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