PEN International Condemns Detention of Independent Chinese PEN Center Webmaster
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
London, March 2, 2011—PEN International protests in the strongest possible terms the detention on criminal charges of Wu Wei (pen name Ye Du), who is the webmaster and Network Coordinator of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.
According to PEN’s information, Ye Du was forced to leave his home in Haizhu, Guangdong Province, and was arrested on February 22, 2011. He has been under residential surveillance in Fanyu, Guangdong Province, since March 1. His wife, Wan Haitao, reports that police raided their home, confiscating computers, books, and videos, and presented her with an official notice stating Ye Du is being accused of “inciting subversion of state power,” a charge regularly used to silence writers in China.
“The harassment, detention, and residential surveillance, far from his own home, of our courageous colleague Ye Du is cause for great concern in the worldwide PEN community,” said Marian Botsford Fraser, chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International. “Ye Du’s unalienable rights, and those of other writers and journalists, are being denied, in what appears to be a targeted campaign to suppress dissent.”
“Our message to the Chinese government is that freedom of expression is not something to be feared,” said John Ralston Saul, president of PEN International. “The detention of Ye Du is an unacceptable transgression of China’s own commitments to human rights and free speech.”
News of Ye Du’s detention comes amid reports of increased harassment of members of the Independent Chinese PEN Center living in China. At least two other ICPC members have been arrested or harassed in the last two weeks, lawyer Teng Biao and writer Ran Yunfei, and several others have been subjected to “soft detention” and other restrictions. Many more have been detained, harassed, or surveilled since its former and honorary president, Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the Nobel Peace Peace Prize last year. Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, has been held incommunicado under unofficial house arrest at her home in Beijing since October 18, 2010. PEN condemns the targeting of its members in China in violation of their right to freedom of expression, and calls on Chinese authorities to cease their campaign of intimidation and release Ye Du, Teng Biao, Ran Yunfei, and all other ICPC members currently in detention immediately.
PEN International celebrates literature and promotes freedom of expression. Founded in 1921, our global community of writers now spans more than 100 countries. Our campaigns, events, publications and programs aim to connect writers and readers wherever they are in the world. For more information please visit http://www.internationalpen.org.uk