Foto: Vytautas Dranginis
PEN Norway’s letter to China’s Ambassador in Norway
PEN Norway wishes the Chinese athletes all the best for the Olympic games 2022. PEN Norway hopes the games will succeed in focusing on the core values of the Olympic Games and in this way inspire both sport athletes and people worldwide.
However, PEN Norway is increasingly concerned by the systematic erosion of the right to freedom of expression in the People’s Republic of China, and the ongoing government crackdown against those who engage in peaceful expression.
PEN Norway believes that the challenges concerning fundamental human rights, freedom of expression and media freedom in the People’s Republic of China cast a shadow over the giant sport event.
We believe that the Olympic games would present an excellent opportunity for the People’s Republic of China to release:
- The writer and Australian citizen Yang Hengjun, who has been detained since 2019
- The publisher and Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, who has been detained since 2015
- The Uighur human rights activist and academic Ilham Tohti, who has been detained since 2014
- The Tibetan writer Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, who has been detained since 2009.
China currently ranks 177 out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders’s World Press Freedom Index. Several social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, have been closed or banned. The state control and surveillance of social media is of great concern.
We refer to international reports, such as Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) report “The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China”.
We hope for the Chinese people a future with a diversity of free media and access to a broad public debate – hence granting power and legitimacy to the government.
PEN Norway believes in dialogue and kindly asks for permission to deliver our letter in person to Your Excellency at any given time.
Oslo, 3rd February 2022
Kjersti Løken Stavrum, President, PEN Norway
Hege Newth, Secretary General PEN Norway
Thomas Spence, Head of the Freedom of the Press Committee, PEN Norway