His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
Oslo, 22 June 2006
The Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of Internet writer Guo Qizhen, who has reportedly been held since 12 May 2006 on subversion charges for his critical writings and pro-democracy activities. Guo is said to be in poor health and held without access to adequate care. International PEN considers journalist Guo Qizhen to be detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
According to PEN’s information, cyber-dissident Guo Qizhen was arrested at his home on 12 May 2006 and charged with ‘inciting subversion of state power’ on 8 June 2006. His arrest appears to be linked to his participation in a rotating hunger strike which has been taking place by pro-democracy activists since 4 February 2006 to protest against human rights violations in China. The charges are believed to be based on his anti-government articles published online on overseas websites.
Guo is currently held incommunicado without access to his family, at Cangzhou detention centre No.2 in Hebei Province, central China, and without adequate medical facilities to give him the medical treatment he needs.
As chair of Norwegian PEN’s Writer in Prison Committee I protest against the detention of Internet writer Guo Qizhen, and I call for his 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.
Hoping that you, Your Excellency, will take immediate action to set Guo Qizhen free, I remain,
Elisabet W. Middelthon/sign. Carl Morten Iversen
Chair Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN secretary general
The Chinese Embassy, Oslo
The Norwegian Embassy, Beijing
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo