International PEN welcomes the release of University lecturer, political activist and dissident writer Hu Shigen on August 26, 2008, after spending sixteen years and three months in prison. PEN remains concerned that he remains under restrictions, and reminds the Chinese authorities of their obligations to Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Hu Shigen, now aged 53, was arrested on September 27, 1992, and convicted on December 16, 1994 by the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court of “leading a counterrevolutionary organization” and “counterrevolutionary propaganda.” He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and a subsequent five years’ deprivation of political rights. He was among dozens of China Freedom and Democracy Party (CFDP) and China Free Trade Union (CFTU) members to be detained in April and May 1992 for planning June 4, 1989 memorial activities in many of China’s major cities. As a founding member of both the CFDP and CFTU, Hu Shigen drafted a number of key documents for both parties and was active in calling for government accountability for the violent suppression of the Democracy Movement in June 1989. Reports suggest that he is in poor health after many years of ill-treatment in jail.

Hu Shigen’s sentence has been reduced several times in prison, most recently in May 2008. Although now released, Hu Shigen remains formally deprived of his right to exercise free speech, right of association and of free assembly, and his eligibility to work for a state institution.

Write A Letter

  • Welcoming the release of university lecturer, political activist and dissident writer Hu Shigen, but expressing serious concerns about the continuing restrictions he faces;
  • Calling for all restrictions against him to be lifted in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

PEN recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country, asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.

Send Your Letter To

President of the People’s Republic of China 
His Excellency Hu Jintao
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Minister of the Public Security
Mr. Meng Jianzhu
East Chang'an Avenue 14
100741 Beijing
P.R. China

Please note that fax numbers are no longer available for the Chinese authorities, so you may wish to ask the diplomatic representative for China in your country to forward your appeals.