International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of dissident writer and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center Zhou Yuanzhi, who was arrested on May 3, 2008, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” He may be detained for his critical writings on various social issues published online. PEN fears that Zhou Yuanzhi may be held in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and, if so, calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Background Information

Ahou Yuanzhi and his wife were taken from their home by the police of the National Security Bureau of Zhongxiang City, Hubei Province, on May 2, 2008. His wife was later released and placed under house arrest. Zhou remains in custody and is held on suspicion of “inciting subversion,” a charge often used to silence dissent in China.

Zhou Yuanzhi, 47, is a freelance writer who has published two books in Hong Kong, as well as over 500 political commentaries, essays, and short stories under several pen names in overseas Chinese magazines and online. He is known for his critiques on social issues and official corruption.

Zhou has been previously targeted for his writings. In 1992, after contributing an article to Voice of America radio, he was dismissed from his post as deputy chief of the Zhongxiang City Taxation Bureau and expelled from the Communist Party of China.



Write A Letter

  • expressing serious concerns about the detention of dissident writer Zhou Yuanzhi, and calling for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China became a signatory in 1998.

Please 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

President of the Supreme People’s Court
Chief Judge Mr. WANG Shengjun
No. 27 Dongjiaominxiang
Dongcheng District, Beijing 100745
People’s Republic of China

Supreme People’s Procuratorate
Procurator General Mr. CAO Jianming
Beiheyan Street 147
100726 Beijing
People’s Republic of 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 May 31, 2008: ftw [at]