China: Dissident writer Hu Shigen released

English PEN warmly welcomes the release of University lecturer, political activist and dissident writer Hu Shigen on 26 August 2008, after spending sixteen years and three months in prison. Nevertheless, we are still concerned that he remains under restrictions, and would like to take this opportunity to remind the Chinese authorities of their obligations to Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

English PEN Honorary Member Hu Shigen was held illegally for four months before being formally charged on 27 September 1992, and was convicted on 16 December 1994 by the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court of ‘leading a counterrevolutionary organisation’ and ‘counterrevolutionary propaganda’. Hu was sentenced to twenty years in prison and a subsequent five years of deprivation of political rights. He was amongst dozens of China Freedom and Democracy Party (CFDP) and China Free Trade Union (CFTU) members to be detained in April and May 1992 for planning 4 June 1989 memorial activities in many of China’s major cities. As a founding member of both the CFDP and CFTU, Hu Shigen drafted a number of key documents for both parties and was active in calling for government accountability for the violent suppression of the Democracy Movement in June 1989. Reports suggest that he is in poor health after many years of ill-treatment in jail.

Hu Shigen’s sentence has been reduced several times in prison, most recently in May 2008. Although now released, Hu Shigen remains formally deprived of his right to exercise free speech, right of association and of free assembly, and his eligibility to work for a state institution.

For more information on Hu Shigen, please click here.

Please send appeals:
– Welcoming the release of university lecturer, political activist and dissident writer Hu Shigen, but expressing serious concerns about the continuing restrictions he faces;
– Calling for all restrictions against him to be lifted in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which China is a signatory.

Government addresses:

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

Mr. Meng Jianzhu
Minister of the Public Security
East Chang’an Avenue 14
100741 Beijing
P.R. China

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:

Her Excellency Mrs. Fu Ying
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
49 – 51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL

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