Writer Tan Zuoren Sentenced
International PEN strongly protests the five-year prison sentence handed down to writer and activist Tan Zuoren on February 9, 2009, for “inciting subversion of state power.” PEN believes that Tan Zuoren’s conviction and continuing imprisonment are in direct violation of his right to freedom of expression and opinion, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release according to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.
According to PEN’s information, Tan Zuoren, aged 55, a freelance writer, editor and activist, was arrested in Chengdu City, Sichuan province, on March 28, 2009. Tan’s conviction is based on one of his essays entitled “Witnessing the Final Beauty – An Eyewitness’s Diary of the Square.” This piece was reportedly about the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement and crackdown, and was published in three parts on overseas Chinese web sites in 2007. There are also reports that Tan is being punished for conducting an investigation into the death of schoolchildren in the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Tan Zuoren’s verdict was announced in a five-minute hearing at the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court. His wife and a number of his supporters were not allowed to enter the courtroom. The five-year sentence includes a further three-year suspension of political rights. An appeal against the conviction has been announced. Tan is currently being held at Wenjian District Detention Center, in Chengdu City.
Tan Zuoren is chief editor of the cultural magazine Wen Hua Ren and the founder of the environmental organization Green Rivers. He has also published many articles and blogs online.
Write A Letter
- Protesting the five-year prison sentence handed down to Tan Zuoren;
- Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with 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 contact PEN if sending appeals after April 15, 2010: ftw [at] pen.org