Writer and Advocate Released from Prison
International PEN welcomes the August 12, 2009 release of dissident writer, pro-democracy advocate and Independent Chinese PEN Center member Zhang Lin. Zhang Lin was sentenced on “incitement to subversion” charges to serve five years in prison, and was due to be freed in February 2010. PEN, however, remains alarmed about dire state of freedom of expression in China, and reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Polsitical Rights (ICCPR), to which China is a signatory.
According to PEN's information, Zhang Lin, now aged 46, spent four years and six and a half months imprisoned, and was released on August 12, 2009 due to his good conduct during his re-education through labor detention.
The official indictment issued by the Bengbu authorities stated that he was arrested because of a number of "subversive" articles he had written and subsequently posted on the Internet between August 2003 and January 2005. The lyrics of a punk rock song by the popular Chinese group Pangu, which he quoted in an essay entitled “Pangu–The Hysterical Ravings of the Chinese People,” are said to form part of the evidence against him. The lines, which he reportedly quoted, are translated as follows:
The Yellow River should run dry, this society should collapse, this system should be destroyed, this race should become extinct, this country should perish.
During his imprisonment, Zhang Lin reportedly suffered harsh treatment, including long hours of forced labor, restricted access to correspondence with his wife, and denial of news and writing materials.
Zhang Lin has been repeatedly imprisoned in the past for his political activities.
Write A Letter
- Welcoming the early release of Zhang Lin;
- Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression in China, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which China is a signatory.
Send Your Letter To
President of the People’s Republic of China
His Excellency Hu Jintao
Minister of the Public Security
Mr. Meng Jianzhu
East Chang'an Avenue 14
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 check with PEN if sending appeals after September 20, 2009: ftw[at]pen.org