Prominent Dissident Writer Liu Xiaobo Detained
International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, former President and Board member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, who was arrested on December 8, 2008. He is among a number of activists to have been detained in recent days for their participation in events to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that is being celebrated worldwide today. Most have been released since, but Liu is reportedly being held on “suspicion of inciting subversion of state power.” PEN considers Liu Xiaobo to be held for his peaceful opposition activities, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
According to PEN’s information, writer Liu Xiaobo is among a number of dissidents to have been detained or harassed in recent days after issuing an open letter calling on the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to ratify the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and launching Charter 08, a declaration calling for political reforms and human rights. Charter 08 was part of a campaign to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10), and was signed by more than 300 scholars, journalists, freelance writers and activists in China. The following background is given by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) in a December 9, 2008 alert:
A group of Chinese citizens launched Charter 08 today, a declaration that outlines a vision for a constitutional democratic China and initiates a platform for citizens' actions. Charter 08 calls for bold political reforms, including an end to one-party rule and replacement of the current political system with one based on human rights and democracy. Charter 08 was signed not only by well-known dissidents and intellectuals but also by officials and rural leaders. The signatories will form an informal and open group to promote democratization and advance human rights in China. Charter 08, assisted by CHRD, was inspired by Czechoslovakia's Charter 77 in which Czech and Slovak citizens espoused similar ideals for their country.
Write A Letter
- Expressing serious concern at the arrest of prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo;
- Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
Send Your Letter To
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
Mr. Meng Jianzhu
Minister of the Public Security
East Chang'an Avenue 14
Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. PEN recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.
Please check with PEN if sending appeals after January 2, 2008: ftw[at]pen.org