(NEW YORK)— PEN America today joins over 60 other organizations, bar associations, scholars, and human rights defenders in calling for an end to a renewed crackdown on human rights lawyers in China.

To mark China Human Rights Lawyers Day, a statement in English and in Chinese by the 64 signatories commemorates the July 9, 2015 roundup of more than 300 human rights lawyers and legal assistants, in what was known as the ‘709 Crackdown.’ In addition, the statement condemns renewed repression over the last three months, which the United Nations says has effectively “criminalized” human rights lawyers in China.

Angeli Datt, PEN America’s China research and advocacy lead, said: “Independent lawyers are an essential component of due process rights. The Chinese government’s assault on human rights lawyers puts writers in China at further risk and infringes on the right to free expression guaranteed under Chinese and international law.”

Against this latest wave of repression known as the ‘709 crackdown 2.0’, the statement calls on the international community to urge the Chinese government to:

  • End to its crackdown on human rights lawyers and defenders;
  • Release all those arbitrarily detained;
  • Amend laws and regulations to bring them into full compliance with international human rights standards in cooperation with UN human rights bodies

Read about individual cases of human rights lawyers, activists, and others who have been detained and forcibly disappeared in recent years.

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