CHINA: Dissident writer and Independent Chinese PEN Member (ICPC) detained

The Writers in Prison Committee of English PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of dissident writer and member of Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) Yan Zhengxue, who was arrested on 18 October 2006 and was officially charged on 1st November 2006 with subversion, apparently in connection with his writings and dissident activities. 

English PEN continues to be alarmed about an apparent crackdown on dissident writers in China, which is thought to be an attempt to suppress dissidents in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games.

There are serious concerns that those being held are at risk of ill-treatment in prison. English PEN calls for the immediate and
unconditional release of all writers currently detained in China, including Yan Zhengxue, in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and seeks immediate assurances that whilst detained they are treated humanely.

According to PEN’s information, writer and painter Yan Zhengxue was arrested on 18 October 2006 after police raided his home in Jiaojiang, Zhejiang Province. They also reportedly raided his wife’s home in Beijing, and took away computer equipment from both residences. He is held incommunicado without access to family visits.

Yan Zhengxue, aged 50, is a well known artist and author of several books.
His paintings have been exhibited both in China and abroad. He has been briefly detained on numerous occassions for his dissident activites, and was administratively sentenced to two years ‘re-education through labour’ in April 1994. He is also known for bringing a lawsuit against the authorities after being tortured in custody on 2 July 1993 by three policemen at the Haidian district police station in Beijing.

Those recently arrested for their critical writings and dissident activities include: Gao Zhisheng, lawyer, arrested on 15 August 2006 and charged with inciting subversion for his internet writings; Zhang Jianhong (aka Li Hong), prominent writer, arrested on 6 September 2006 and charged on 12 October with ‘inciting subversion’; Yang Maodong (aka Guo Feixiong), a well-known dissident writer, independent publisher and civil rights activist, arrested on 14 September 2006 and charged with ‘illegal busines practises’; Chen Shuqing, a dissident writer and leading member of Zhejiang Branch of the banned Chinese Democratic Party (CDP), arrested on 14 September 2006.

Please send appeals:


–  protesting the detention of all writers currently detained, including Yan Zhengxue, and calling for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China became a signatory in 1998;
–  seeking immediate assurances that they are not ill-treated in prison;
–  urging the authorities to respect their basic rights whilst detained and to granted them full access to their families, lawyers and any necessary medical care.

Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. WiPC recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.

Government addresses:

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

Procurator General Mr. Jia Chunwang
Supreme People’s Procuratorate
Beiheyan Street 147
100726 Beijing
P.R. China

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