(New York, NY) – President Trump reportedly made assurances to China’s president that the U.S. would remain silent on the ongoing Hong Kong protests amid trade talks, a move PEN America today said was a stunning repudiation to free expression.

The following statement is attributable to Summer Lopez, senior director of Free Expression Programs at PEN America:

“It is deeply troubling to hear that President Trump decided to sacrifice American leadership on human rights for the sake of a trade deal. To offer this kind of preemptive carte blanche to a government responsible for some of the world’s most serious violations of human rights is a disgrace. We expect our president to stand up for the right to protest and for freedom of expression around the world. Here, the president traded in these values as a bargaining chip.”


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.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, [email protected], +1 202 309 8892