PEN International is deeply concerned at the news that prominent Chinese author Wang Lixiong was barred from traveling to Japan on 16 December 2015 apparently due to concerns that his visit would “damage national security.”  The Japanese translation of his 1991 novel Yellow Peril about an apocalyptic civil war in China went on sale in Japan in November 2015. .Wang is known for his critical views of the Chinese authorities’ treatment of minorities. Arrested in 1999, he spent 42 days in prison, and has been placed under house arrest several times, including most recently in July 2014 with his wife, Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser during the visit to China of US Secretary of State John Kerry.  PEN International is calling for the travel ban to be lifted, as it is a violation of the right to freedom of movement and to freedom of expression, as provided under Articles 12 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.  

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Background Information

Wang Lixiong, 62, is a prominent author of some 15 books, who has written extensively about the situation in Tibet and of the Uyghur minority. He is also very interested in environmental issues.

In January 1999, Wang was formally arrested on suspicion of "leaking state secrets" and held for 42 days before being released after he carried out research for an article on Beijing's policies in Xinjiang. In prison, he shared a cell with Mokhtar, a Uyghur prisoner arrested in Beijing for organizing a demonstration against discrimination. Their discussions Xinjiang formed the main part of his book My West China; Your East Turkestan published in 2007.

He is married to prominent Tibetan author Tsering Woeser who is herself denied a passport and so cannot travel. The couple were placed briefly under house arrest in July 2014, apparently to prevent them meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry who was visiting China.

A review of Wang Lixiong’s work can be found here.

For further information, please contact Ann Harrison, Director of the Freedom to Write Programme at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK, Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, Email: ann.harrison@pen-international.org

Write A Letter

Please send appeals to the Chinese authorities:

  • Expressing concern at the travel ban imposed on Wang Lixiong;
  • Urging that it be lifted immediately to allow him to travel abroad and promote his work;
  • Urging the authorities to ratify the  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides for freedom of legitimate expression, and freedom of movement and reminding them that as a signatory to the ICCPR China is obliged to ‘refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose.’

Send Your Letter To

His Excellency Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China
Fax: +86 10 6238 1025
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copy to the Embassy of China in your country. You can find embassy addresses here.

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after January 23, 2015. ***

Please inform PEN of any action you take, and of any responses you receive