2017 China: Independent Chinese PEN Center

In China writers, journalists, the Independent Chinese PEN Center and its members, as well as other critical voices have been persecuted, harassed, imprisoned, and sometimes forcibly disappeared. Norwegian PEN and the Writers in Prison Committee call on Chinese authorities to comply with the right of freedom of expression.

Oslo, January 5th 2017

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

 

Your Excellency,

The Norwegian PEN and its Writers in Prison Committee is hereby calling for the release of all writers, journalists and publishers imprisoned in violation of their right to freedom of expression in the People’s Republic of China. We are urging you to cease the harassment and persecution of members of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, and lift all restrictions on their freedom to exit and enter mainland China, particularly to attend PEN International conferences and to return home.

We are also calling on you to end the practice of enforced disappearance and the use of forced confessions, which contravene an individual’s right to fair trial.

Finally, we are calling on you to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was signed by the People’s Republic of China in October 1998.

 

On behalf of the Norwegian Writers in Prison Committee,

 

Øivind Hånes
author

 

 

Copies: Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Norway; The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

2016 Kina: Wang Lixiong

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

Oslo, 06.01.16

Your Excellency,

Norwegian PEN is concerned about the news that the Prominent Chinese author Wang Lixiong has been barred from travelling to Japan on 16 December 2015 to promote the translation of his 1991 novel «Yellow Peril».

It is known to us that Wang Lixiong has expressed critical views of the Chinese authorities treatment of minorities. In 1999, he spent 42 days in prison, and he has been placed under house arrests several times. However, this is a violation of the right to freedom of expression, as provided under Articles 12 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. We allow us to remind You that as a signatory to the ICCPR China is obliged to «refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose», and also allow us to hope that Chinese authorities soon will ratify this International Covenant.

Norwegian PEN urge that the travel ban be lifted, so that Wang Lixiong can be allowed to travel abroad to promote his work.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Brit Bildøen
Chair of Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN

COPY: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

2014 Kina/Hong Kong: Xu Xiao, Xue Ye etc.

Oslo, December 23rd 2014
His Excellency Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China
Dear Mr. President,

PEN International and the International Publishers Association are deeply concerned at a new wave of arrests of writers, journalists, publishers and civil society activists in China in recent weeks, apparently for their public support of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The Norwegian Writers in Prison Committee is expressing serious concern for the arrest and well-being of Xu Xiao, Xue Ye and Liu Jianshu He Zhengjun, Kuo Yanding and Zhang Miao, calling for their immediate and unconditional release if, as is feared, they are being persecuted for their legitimate professional activities and peaceful exercise of their right to free expression.

We protest against the renewed crackdown on government critics in recent months, and reminding the Chinese authorities that Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China provides for freedom of speech, and that as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for freedom of legitimate expression, the right not to be arbitrarily detained, the right to a fair trial, and that the government refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Øivind Hånes
Member of Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN

 

COPY: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

2014 Kina: Gao Yu

Oslo, 12. November 2014

 

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

 

Your Excellency

Beijing-based veteran journalist, Gao Yu, ‘disappeared’ on 23 April 2014 and was held incommunicado for two weeks before the authorities disclosed, in a televised ‘confession,’ that she was being held on suspicion of ‘leaking state secrets abroad’. She remains detained pending trial, and faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. Her precise whereabouts are unknown, and there are serious concerns for her well-being. PEN believes that Gao Yu is being persecuted for her legitimate professional activities, and is calling for her immediate and unconditional release.

Gao Yu, now aged 70, is former chief editor of Economics Weekly and contributor to the German newspaper Deutsche Welle. At the time of her disappearance she was writing a column titled “Party Nature vs. Human Nature”, which is said to focus on the new leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and its internal conflicts. The article was never submitted, and when she did not attend as scheduled a 26 April event in Beijing to commemorate the 4 June 1989 anti-government protests which were brutally suppressed, friends reported her disappearance. Gao Yu had also been due to travel to Hong Kong to speak at the annual awards ceremony of the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC), of whom she is a member, on 3 May.

Norwegian PEN

 

·         is concerned about the arrest and well-being of veteran journalist Gao Yu, and urge that she isprotected from ill-treatment and granted access to family and a lawyer of her choice;

·         call for her immediate and unconditional release if, as feared, she is being persecuted for her legitimate professional activities;

·         remind the Chinese authorities that Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China provides for freedom of speech and that as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for freedom of legitimate expression, the right not to be arbitrarily detained and the right to a fair trial, they are obliged to “refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose”.

 

Sincerely

Carl Morten Iversen
Secretary General

2014 Kina: Yao Wentian

Norway, 20 May 2014

His Excellency Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China
Chinese Embassy in Oslo, Norway
Tuengen Alle 2B, Vinderen 0244

Oslo, Norway

Your Excellencies,

I write to you as a member of Norwegian PEN, the local section of PEN International, the writer`s and free expression organisation with 140 centres in over 100 countries around the world, including China and many other countries in your region.

Publisher Yao Wentian, aged 73, who has been held in Shenzhen since 27 October 2013, was convicted by the Shenzhen Intermediate People`s Court on the charge of “smuggling prohibited items” and sentenced to a 10-year jail term. At the time of his arrest he was preparing to publish a book by US-based dissident writer Yu Jie. PEN believes the trial and conviction to be politically motivated.

PEN is expressing serious concern for the heavy sentencing and health of Yao Wentian, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release if, as feared, he is being persecuted for his professional activities through politically-motivated criminal charges.

PEN is also protesting the renewed crackdown on government critics, and would like to remind Your Excellency, President Xi, of your commitment to tackle official corruption.

PEN would also like to remind Chinese authorities that Article 35 of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China provides for freedom of speech and that as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for freedom of legitimate expression, the right not to be arbitrarily detained and the right to a fair trial, they are obliged to “refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose”.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Trine Kleven

Chair of Writers in Prison Committee

Norwegian PEN

2014 Kina: Gao Yu

Norway, 20 May 2014

His Excellency Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China
Fu Zhenghua
Director, Beijing Public Security Bureau
Beijingshi Gong´anju 9 Dongdajie, Quianmen, Donchengqu
Beijing 100740

P.R. China
Chinese Embassy in Oslo, Norway
Tuengen Alle 2B, Vinderen 0244

Oslo, Norway

Your Excellencies,

I write to you as a member of Norwegian PEN, the local section of PEN International, the writer`s and free expression organisation with 140 centres in over 100 countries around the world, including China and many other countries in your region.

Journalist Gao Yu, aged 70, went missing 24 April, and is being detained by Beijing Police on the charge of “leaking state secrets abroad”. She is accused for leaking a secret document to editors of a foreign website in August 2013.

PEN is expressing serious concern for the arrest and well-being of Gao Yu, and urging that she is protected from ill-treatment and that she is granted access to family and a lawyer of her choice. PEN is also expressing concern that she has been shown “confessing” on state television, in contravention of her right to a fair trial.

Therefore, PEN is calling for her immediate and unconditional release if, as feared, she is being persecuted for her legitimate professional activities.

PEN would like to remind Chinese authorities that Article 35 of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China provides for freedom of speech and that as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for freedom of legitimate expression, the right not to be arbitrarily detained and the right to a fair trial, they are obliged to “refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose”.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Trine Kleven

Chair of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

www.norskpen.no

Norwegian PEN meets Dalai Lama

A delegation of members from Norwegian PEN and PEN International had a brief meeting with the Dalai Lama this morning during his visit to Oslo. The delegation, Norwegian PEN president William Nygaard, board member Peter Normann Waage and PEN International’s Vice President Eugene Schoulgin, welcomed the Dalai Lama to Norway and regretted that the Norwegian government had declined to meet with him.

«We told the Dalai Lama that the Norwegian people support him,» said Nygaard after the meeting, adding that he, on PENs behalf, was very grateful that the Dalai Lama took the time to meet representatives from the world´s biggest freedom of expression organization, before meeting with Norwegian politicians in the Parliament building. PEN referred to the defense of his case and of imprisoned Tibetans throughout more than thirty years, and said that Tibetan PEN is among the most significant PEN centers.  The Dalai Lama was glad to hear this. PEN also expressed gratitude towards the Dalai Lama for making Tibetan culture a part of the world´s cultural heritage.

The Dalai Lama was happy to be back in Norway and paid no attention to the lack of willingness the Norwegian government now has demonstrated to follow up on earlier statements. The Dalai Lama raised the Chinese people’s need for comprehensive freedom of expression. «Had it not been for the censorship in China, the Chinese people themselves could have made up their minds about what is right and what is wrong,» stressed the Dalai Lama.

At the end of the meeting, the Dalai Lama was invited back to Norway. If nothing else he could go fishing to learn more about the Norwegian culture. He laughed heartily and stressed that he happily would eat the fish, as long as he didn’t have to kill it.

9th May 2014

Norsk PEN møter Dalai Lama

En delegasjon med medlemmer fra Norsk PEN og PEN International fikk i morges et kort møte med Dalai Lama under hans Oslo-besøk.  Delegasjonen, Norsk PENs lederWilliam Nygaard og styremedlem Peter Normann Waage og PEN Internationals visepresident Eugene Schoulgin, uttrykte glede over at Dalai Lama besøker Norge og beklaget at det offisielle Norge ikke tok ham imot.

«Vi fortalte Dalai Lama at det norske folk står på hans side», sa Nygaard etter møtet.   Nygaard la til at han på PEN´s vegne var svært takknemlig over at Dalai Lama tok seg tid til et møte med representanter for verdens største ytringsfrihetsorganisasjon, før Tibets åndelige leder skulle møte norske politikere på Stortinget.  PEN fortalte om forsvaret av hans sak og av fengslede tibetanere gjennom mer enn tretti år og at tibetansk PEN er blant de viktige PEN-sentrene. Dalai Lama ble glad for å høre dette. Det ble også uttrykt takknemlighet over at Dalai Lama hadde gjort den tibetanske kulturen til en del av verdenskulturen.

Dalai Lama var glad for å være tilbake i Norge og så helt bort fra den manglende vilje til å følge opp tidligere uttalelser som den norske regjeringen har demonstrert.   Overfor PEN-delegasjonen tok Dalai Lama opp det kinesiske folks behov for ytringsfrihet.  «Hadde det ikke vært for sensuren i Kina kunne kineserne selv ha gjort seg opp en mening om hva som er rett og hva som galt», understreket Dalai Lama.

Han ble til slutt invitert tilbake- om ikke annet så på fisketur for å lære mer om den norske kulturen. Han lo hjertelig og understreket at han gjerne spiste fisken, bare han slapp å ta livet av den.

9. mai 2014

Se også oppslag på Dagbladets nettside.

Do the Chinese control the Norwegian parliament ? Norwegian politicians place business interests ahead of human rights

PRESS RELEASE

Norwegian PEN is concerned that the Norwegian Parliament sets narrow business interests ahead of the interests of human rights and human dignity. We deeply regret that many of our leading politicians , who both previously met the Dalai Lama and supported Tibetan struggle for human rights now allows the pragmatic to overshadow the principal .

Norway has long been an important country in international peace and reconciliation work and rendered significant contributions to the promotion of human rights . To show respect to the Dalai Lama as a freedom fighter and for his peaceful efforts should be a question of honor,  it concerns our self- respect and decency as a nation.  It is by our own consistent behavior that respect for human dignity could also result in a long-term dialogue on human rights with China. It is therefore important that Norway, as a small nation, has the necessary courage and integrity to stand up to one of the largest and strongest economies in the world. Who would stand against China if not the country that awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and that,  better  than most other countires, can afford to bear the cost of being principled?

Norwegian PEN believes that Norway, as a country who dares to speak out, will have a positive significance in the long run, both for the peace prize, business relations,  international peace efforts and general relations with China – but first and foremost for freedom of expression and other human rights.

On this background, the Board of Norwegian PEN strongly urge the Norwegian government to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to Norway in May.

 

28 April 2014

Er det kineserne som styrer Stortinget?

Norske politikere setter næringsinteresser foran menneskerettigheter

PRESSEMELDING

Norsk PEN ser med bekymring på at Stortinget setter smale næringsinteresser foran hensynet til menneskerettigheter og menneskeverd.  Vi beklager sterkt at en rekke av våre sentrale politikere, som tidligere både har møtt Dalai Lama og
støttet tibetanernes kamp for menneskerettigheter nå lar det pragmatiske overskygge det prinsipielle.

Norge har lenge vært et viktig land i internasjonalt freds- og forsoningsarbeid og ytt vesentlige bidrag til arbeidet for menneskerettigheter. Å vise respekt for Dalai Lama som frihetskjemper og for hans fredelige innsats bør være  en honnørsak, det handler om vår selvrespekt og anstendighet. Det er ved vår egen konsekvente opptreden at respekten for menneskeverdet også vil kunne munne ut i en langsiktig dialog om menneskerettigheter med Kina.  Det er derfor viktig at Norge, som en liten nasjon, har mot og integritet nok til stå opp mot en av verdens største og sterkeste økonomier.  Hvem skulle stå imot Kina hvis det ikke var det landet som tildelte Nobels Fredspris og som har bedre råd enn noen andre til å bære kostnadene av prinsippfastheten?

Norsk PEN mener at et Norge som tør å si ifra vil bety noe positivt i det lange løp, både for fredsprisen, næringslivet, internasjonalt fredsarbeid og forholdet til Kina – men først og fremst for ytringsfriheten og andre menneskerettigheter.

På denne bakgrunn vil styret i Norsk PEN på det sterkeste oppfordre den norske regjeringen til å møte Dalai Lama under hans norgesbesøk i mai.

 

24. april 2014

 

Nærmere informasjon:

Styreleder William Nygaard: 908 92 601

Generalsekretær Carl Morten Iversen: 926  88 023