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President Xi: No More Silence

Thursday 8 December 2016 - 10:52am

Dear President Xi Jinping,

Our PEN International community of writers, readers, activists and publishers condemn the Chinese authority’s sustained and increasing attack on free expression and call for an immediate end to China’s worsening crackdown on fundamental human rights.

We cannot stand by as more and more of our friends and colleagues are silenced. Where is the voice of Ilham Tohti, Uyghur scholar and PEN member, currently serving a life sentence, when his life’s work has been about creating peace and dialogue in China? Where is the voice of veteran journalist Gao Yu, who spent close to two years in prison and is now under house arrest? Where is the voice of publisher Gui Minhai, who disappeared from his holiday home in Thailand and is now being held incommunicado?  Where is the voice of Nobel Peace Laureate and former president of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, Liu Xiaobo serving an 11-year prison sentence and the voice of his wife, the poet Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest for over six years without even having been accused of a crime?

These writers represent the many critical voices across China currently being silenced. Like the imprisoned and persecuted members of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre: Yang Tongyan, Zhu Yufu, Lü Gengsong, Chen Shuqing, Hu Shigen, Qin Yongmin, Liu Yanli and Liu Feiyue, (and honorary members) Zhang Haitao, Sun Feng, Lu Yuyu, Li Tingyu, Huang Qi and Su Changlan. The enforced silence of these friends and colleagues is deafening, and the disappearance of their voices has left a world worse off for this egregious injustice and loss.

Today we call for their words to reverberate across the globe as we commit to fighting for their freedom until China heeds our call. On days like today we have to reaffirm our refusal not to be complicit in their silence. We have to use our own words to give power to theirs.
China and the rest of the world can only be enriched by these opinions and voices. We therefore urge the Chinese authorities to release the writers, journalists, and activists who are languishing in jail or kept under house arrest for the crime of speaking freely and expressing their opinions.

We urge them to uphold freedom of expression and all human rights.

Abraham Zere, PEN Eritrea
Adriaan van Dis               
Ah Phyu Yaung Shwe    
Ai Weiwei 
Aleid Truijens  
Alejandro Sánchez-Aizcorbe, Peruvian PEN
Alexander McCall Smith, PEN International Writers Circle
Anders Heger, PEN International
Andrew Solomon, PEN America
Anna Nasiłowska, Polish PEN
Annika Thor, Swedish PEN
Anotnio Della Rocca, PEN Trieste
Baoqiang Sun   
Burhan Sönmez, PEN International Writers Circle
Carles Torner, PEN International
Carme Arenas, PEN Catala
Catherine Vuylsteke     
Chaw Ei Mahn 
Chimamanda Adichie   
Chit Kyi Aye      
Christine Otten               
Chu Cai
Colm Toibin, PEN International Writers Circle
De Novo             
Depu He             
Dr. Mirror (Taung-gyi)
Elif Shafak, PEN International Writers Circle   
Eugene Schoulgin, PEN International, Vice President
Feng Hu              
Fiona Graham, Scottish PEN
Frank Mackay Anim-Appiah, PEN Ghana
Ghareeb Asqalani          
Gloria Guardia, PEN International, Vice President
Go Go Mawlamyaing    
Guozhen Xiao  
Hakan Günday 
Han Zaw             
Hanan Al Shaykh, PEN International Writers Circle
Hanan Awwad, PEN Palestine
Htar Oak Thon  
Iman Humaydan, PEN Lebanon
Isabella Allende, PEN International Writers Circle             
Jennifer Clement President, PEN International
Jianguo Zha       
Jianhong Li        
Jianhua Li           
Jianzhen Qi
Jiro Asada, Japan PEN, PEN International Writers Circle
JM Coetzee, Nobel Laureate       
Joanne Leedom-Ackermon, PEN International, Vice President
John Ralston Saul, PEN International, President Emeritus, PEN International Writers Circle
Judyth Hill, PEN San Miguel
July Moe            
Juraj Šebesta, Slovak PEN
Khin Aung Aye 
Khin Mg Oo       
Khin Moe Shwe               
Khin Mya Zin    
Kyar Phyu New
Kyaw Zin Ko Ko
Kyawt Darli Lin 
Lebao Wu          
Let Yar Tun
Liyong Sun         
Lucina Kathmann, PEN International, Vice-President
Ma Thida, PEN International
Magali Tercero, PEN Mexico
Magda Carneci, PEN Romania
Manon Uphoff 
Margaret Atwood, PEN International Writers Circle, PEN International Vice-President
Margie Orford, PEN South Africa
May Zun Aye    
Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Laureate, PEN International President Emeritus
Mi Chan Wai
Michelle Franke, PEN Centre USA
Mingmin Lin     
Mircea Cartarescu          
Mohamed Sheriff, PEN International
Moris Farhi, PEN International Vice President
Mya Thway Ni  
Myat Lwin Lwin Aung   
Myat Su Lwin    
Myay Hmone Lwin         
Myo Myint Nyein, PEN Myanmar
Nan Kyar Phyu 
Nedzad Ibrahimovic, PEN Bosnia-Herzegovina
Neil Gaiman
Nguyên Hoàng Bao Viêt, PEN Suisse Romand     
Ngwe Kyel Sin  
Nyi Pu Lay          
Per Øhrgaard, Danish PEN
Per Wästberg, PEN International President Emeritus, Chairman, Nobel Committee for Literature
Ping Hu               
Randy Boyagoda, PEN Canada
Regula Venske, PEN Germany
Renate Dorrestein         
Salil Tripathi, PEN International
Salman Rushdie, PEN International Writers Circle
Samay Hamed, Afghan PEN
Saw Wai             
Shiying Zhao     
Shwe Eain Si May           
Shwe Naung Yoe
Sirpa Kähkönen, Finnish PEN
Sjón, Icelandic PEN
Sofi Oksanen, PEN International Writers Circle
Suu Mie Aung  
Suzanne Nossel, PEN America
Syeda Aireen Jaman, PEN Bangladesh
Thet Wai Hnin (Aung Lan)
Tienchi Liao, Independent Chinese PEN Centre
Tung Van Vu, Vietnamese Abroad PEN Centre
Vida Ognjenovic, PEN Serbia, PEN International Vice President
Vonne van der Meer, PEN Netherlands
Waheed Warasta, PEN Afghanistan
Wenxiu Lin        
Willem Jan Otten
William Nygaard, PEN Norway
Yann Martel, PEN International Writers Circle
Ye Shan               
Yeliang Xia        
Yongmei Cai     
Yrsa Sigurdardóttir         
Yu Zhang            
Zeynep Oral, PEN Turkey
Zhao Chen         

Take Action here: China: PEN renews its calls to release all writers, journalists and publishers