New York City, February 11, 2010—PEN American Center President Kwame Anthony Appiah has issued this statement following reports that a Beijing court rejected writer and PEN member Liu Xiaobo’s appeal of his “subversion” conviction and 11-year prison sentence:

“We are deeply disappointed by the court’s summary rejection of Liu Xiaobo’s appeal. The brief, inadequate hearing and quick decision only furthered the impression that the decisions of the courts in China are not about justice but about power. That of course is not a justice system at all. Liu Xiaobo’s three words to the court—‘I am innocent’—stand as an unanswered indictment of the system that condemned him; they will echo in China and around the world until he is released.”

PEN American Center is the largest of the 145 centers of International PEN, the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. The Freedom to Write Program of PEN American Center, which works to protect the freedom of the written word wherever it is imperiled, has been working to end China’s imprisonment, harassment, and surveillance of writers and journalists and curtail Internet censorship and other restrictions on the freedom to write in that country. For more information, please visit

Larry Siems, (646) 359-0594
Sarah Hoffman, (212) 334-1660 ext. 111