International PEN protests the rearrest of dissident writer and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center Du Daobin, who was detained on July 21, 2008, for apparently violating the conditions of his probation. Du was previously arrested in October 2003 and sentenced to three years in prison on subversion charges for his critical writings online, but he was released conditionally in June 2004 after eight months in prison; he is now required to serve the remainder of his sentence. PEN calls for his immediate and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Background Information

Around noon on July 21, 2008, Du Daobin was arrested by police from the Public Security Bureaus (PSB) of Xiaogan City and Yingcheng City while at the Healthcare Reform Office of Yingcheng City, Hubei Province, where he works as a professional clerk. As many as eight PSB officers also searched his home, confiscated two computers and some letters, but failed to present any court documents when they took him away. Mr. Du stands accused of violating the terms of his four-year probation by publishing more than 100 articles on the Internet, leaving the city, and receiving guests without permission from the police. For these “violations,” police have stated that Mr. Du will be sent back to prison even though he has almost finished serving his 2004 term. He is being held incommunicado at an undisclosed location.

Police apparently acted in violation of Chinese legal procedure, which allows for  an individual on probation to be sent back to prison only if the PSB makes an application to the court, which then makes the decision. However, the police did not present any court documents when they took Du away and police have not notified Du's family about where he is held or how he can be contacted.

Du, 43, is a well-known dissident writer from Yingcheng City, Hubei Province. On June 11, 2004, Du was convicted of "inciting subversion of state power" and sentenced to three years' imprisonment, commuted to four years' probation and two years' deprivation of political rights. According to the court verdict, Du posted 26 articles on web sites such as Dajiyuan and abroad between July 2002 and October 2003. Du wrote that the current government is illegitimate and its power "dictatorial, violent, cruel, unfair and corrupt." As the Chinese government had "lost the qualification to represent the side of justice," "the issue of subversion of government being illegal does not exist." These comments were considered to be slanderous and "inciting of subversion of state power.

Write A Letter

  • protesting the rearrest of writer Du Daobin and calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory;
  • calling for guarantees that Du Daobin is granted full access to his family and legal representation and is treated humanely in detention.

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.

Please contact PEN if sending appeals after August 8, 2008: ftw [at]