International PEN welcomes the release of dissident writer and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center Zhou Yuanzhi on May 15, 2008. However, PEN is also concerned that he remains under heavy 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

Zhou Yuanzhi was taken from his home on May 3, 2008, and held at an unknown location under the Residential Surveillance law, which provides for interrogation of suspects without formal arrest. He reported that during this time, he was held at a hotel and questioned by the police about his articles, books, contacts, and interviews. He was released on May 15, 2008, but  remains under heavy restriction, including being forbidden from traveling beyond his home city without police authorization, prohibited from communicating with strangers, and banned from publishing. These restrictions could last up to six months, during which time Zhou could be formally detained and questioned at any time.

Zhou extends his thanks to all who campaigned on his behalf. He believes that international pressure contributed to his release.

Write A Letter

  • welcoming the release of dissident writer and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center Zhou Yuanzhi, 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. 

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
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 June 20, 2008: ftw [at]