(NEW YORK/LONDON)— PEN America and PEN International today condemned the seven-year prison sentence handed down to Chinese blogger Ruan Xiaohuan (阮晓寰) and called for his immediate release.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate Court convicted Ruan on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” on February 10, 2023, but news of his fate only emerged in recent days following the publication of the court verdict on a Chinese human rights website.

Ruan reportedly ran an anonymous blog called “Program Think,” where he wrote political commentary, criticized the Chinese Communist Party, and provided technical advice on how to circumvent China’s “Great Firewall.” The blog also had a large number of followers on Twitter. Over 100 articles from the blog formed the basis of the “evidence” against him, according to the court documents. He has reportedly appealed his sentence.

“The seven-year prison sentence handed down to Ruan Xiaohuan for his politics and technology blog is an outrage. Blogging is not a crime and the heavy prison sentence on national security charges for his writing illustrates the dire situation for free expression in China. We call on Chinese authorities to vacate his prison sentence and release him immediately,” said Angeli Datt, PEN America’s China research and advocacy lead.

“The severe sentence against Ruan Xiaohuan is yet another example of the authorities’ willingness to use every means available to silence dissenting voices. It is notable that PRC government representatives continue to freely post on social media platforms banned in China while persecuting others who seek the same freedoms,” said Ross Holder, Head of Asia/ Pacific Region at PEN International.

Ruan Xiaohuan, 45, initially disappeared in May 2021. At the time of his disappearance, his identity was not known but readers of his anonymous blog noticed he had not posted in an unusually long time. Ruan’s “Program Think” blog included pieces about evading government detection over the years, such as “Why the Authorities Can’t Catch Me–A Summary of My Security Experience After Ten Years of Anti-Party Activities,” while others discussed the history of the 1989 protests, and current affairs. According to the court documents, Ruan was detained just two days after his final blog post, which was a list of book recommendations.

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. Learn more at pen.org.





美国笔会中国研究和文宣负责人代安玲(Angeli Datt)说:“阮晓寰因其政治和科技博客被判处七年徒刑,令人愤慨。写博客不是犯罪,他因写作而定(危害)国家安全罪被判重刑,说明了中国言论自由的严峻形势。我们呼吁中国当局解除监禁并立即释放他。”

“对阮晓寰的重判,是当局不惜一切手段压制异议的又一例证。值得注意的是,中国政府的代表在中国禁止的社交媒体平台上不断自由发帖,同时却迫害其他寻求同样自由的人,”国际笔会亚太地区负责人罗斯·霍德(Ross Holder)说。

45 岁的阮晓寰最初于2021年5月失踪。在他失踪时,其身份不为人知,但他匿名博客的读者注意到他已经很长时间没有发帖。阮的“编程随想”博客包括《为啥朝廷总抓不到俺——十年反党活动的安全经验汇总》等些年如何逃避政府侦查的文章,而其他则讨论了八九民运以及时事。 根据法庭文件,阮在他最后一篇博文发布次日遭拘留,那篇博文是一份书籍推荐单。