PEN International condemns the arrest of writer and Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) member Dr. Jiao Guobiao. PEN calls for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all those currently detained in the People’s Republic of China for peacefully expressing their views.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Dr. Jiao Guobiao was arrested on September 12, 2012, on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power” following the publication of an article on the Chinese-language web site on September 11, 2012. The article criticized the Chinese government’s policies, including the territorial dispute with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands. Dr. Jiao has been under strict house arrest and surveillance since September 6, 2012, when he was banned from traveling to the 78th PEN International Congress in Gyeongju, South Korea, which he was registered to attend. On September 12, 2012, PEN sent a letter to the Chinese authorities protesting the travel ban. News of his arrest was not disclosed until September 17. Jiao Guobiao is currently being detained at Beijing’s Haidian District Detention Center.
Dr. Jiao Guobiao is based in Beijing and is a former associate professor at Peking University’s College of Journalism and Communications. He is a prominent journalist who worked for the Chinese Cultural Newspaper from 1996-2001 and has written widely on the issues of press freedom and human rights in China. He is internationally known for his journalistic writings and commentaries, and from 1998-2006 published seven major collections, many of which have been translated into English and Japanese. He was suspended from his teaching duties at Peking University in March 2005 following the online publication of his critical article entitled “Denouncing the Central Propaganda Department,” published in March 2004, which promoted press freedom. He has since been subjected to heavy surveillance and harassment, and left China for Germany in November 2006, fearing arrest. In February 2008 he was invited to be Writer in Residence of the Norwich City of Refuge Program. He returned to China at the end of the residency. For more on Jiao’s story and the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) click here.

Write A Letter

  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of writer and ICPC member Dr. Jiao Guobiao, who has been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
  • Expressing alarm at the crackdown on dissent in which writers, journalists, and human rights defenders have been targeted;
  • Reminding the Chinese authorities of their obligations under Article 35 of the Chinese constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a state party.

Send Your Letter To

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
People's Republic of China

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for China in your country if possible.

Please contact PEN if sending appeals after October 20, 2012: ftw [at]