Prominent Writer Zhang Jianhong (Pen Name Li Hong) Released; Grave Health Concerns
International PEN welcomes the release on medical parole on June 5, 2010, of prominent writer and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center Zhang Jianhong. However, PEN is deeply troubled by reports that he is now in critical condition in a hospital, requiring intensive care and dependent on a ventilator. PEN considers Zhang Jianhong to be convicted in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. It therefore continues to call for all charges against Zhang Jianhong to be dropped, and pending this, appeals to the Chinese government to abide by its obligations to provide Zhang Jianhong with all necessary medical care immediately.
According to PEN’s information, Zhang Jianhong, age 52, has been diagnosed with muscle atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system, and his condition has rapidly deteriorated in prison. He has been held in Zhejiang Provincial Prison Hospital, Hangzhou, eastern China, since October 2007 but he is now dependent on a life support machine and requires intensive care. Zhang is unable to speak or write. According to Zhang’s doctors, he is likely to remain dependent on the ventilator for the rest of his life, but he might regain the use of his hands with rehabilitation treatment. The cost for keeping Zhang in intensive care is about $500 to $600 a day, money that his family does not have.
A prominent poet, playwright and author, Zhang Jianhong was arrested in September 2006 and sentenced in March 2007 to six years in prison for writing articles critical of the government. Zhang started publishing his poems in the 1980s, and was previously imprisoned from 1989 to 1991 for his pro-democracy activities. In August 2005 he founded the literary web site Aiqinhai, of which he was editor-in-chief, which was banned by the authorities in 2006. Before his 2006 incarceration, he was a regular contributor to the overseas Chinese sites Boxun and The Epoch Times. Zhang Jianhong was released by the Chinese authorities on medical parole on June 5, 2010, after spending almost four years in prison. Repeated requests for medical parole had previously been denied, and his health is now critical.
Write A Letter
- Welcoming the release on medical parole of prominent writer Zhang Jianghong, but expressing grave concern that he is in critical condition in a hospital and dependent on a ventilator;
- Calling for all charges against Zhang Jianhong to be dropped in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and pending this, to provide Zhang Jianhong with all necessary medical care immediately.
Send Your Letter To
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
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 contact PEN if sending appeals after July 15, 2010: ftw [at] pen.org