PEN International protests the harsh sentence handed down to Chinese activist, novelist, and poet Li Bifeng on November 19, 2012. He was sentenced on fraud charges, although it is widely believed that the charges are without foundation and politically motivated. PEN considers Li Bifeng to be held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and Article 35 of the Chinese constitution, both protecting the right to freedom of expression, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, leading Sichuan activist Li Bifeng, aged 48, was arrested on September 12, 2011, after being summoned for questioning by police in Mianyang city, Sichuan province, for alleged “economic crimes.” Vaguely worded economic crimes are increasingly used to suppress political dissent in China, and those targeted include prominent Chinese artist and social critic Ai Weiwei. Li Bifeng was convicted of alleged “contract fraud” by the Shehong County People’s Court, Sichuan province, on November 19, 2012, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He is believed to be targeted for his peaceful political activism, in particular his links with exiled Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, who is a close friend of Li’s and who fled China two months before Li’s arrest.

Li Bifeng is a prolific poet and novelist as well as a well-known dissident, who has spent a total of over 12 years in prison since 1990 for his activism and critical writings. He served a five-year sentence for taking part in the 1989 pro-democracy movement, followed by a seven-year jail term from 1998 to 2005 for reporting on a workers’ protest in the Sichuan city of Mianyang in 1998. While in prison, Li produced some poetry and kept a diary. Some of his work can be found here.

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the harsh sentence handed down to dissident poet Li Bifeng on charges that are widely considered to be politically motivated;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Li Bifeng, in accordance with China’s national and international obligations on freedom of expression.

Send Your Letter To

HU Jintao Guojia Zhuxi
President
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie
Xichengqu
Beijingshi 100017
People’s Republic of China
Email: [email protected]n

WEN Jiabao Guojia Zongli
Premier
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie
Xichengqu
Beijingshi 100017
People’s Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 65961109

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for China in your country if possible.

Messages of solidarity may be sent to Li Bifeng at: [email protected]