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ICPC Statement on PEN International Day of Imprisoned Writers
Two Writers Honoured Liu Xiaobo Courage to Write Award

Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) | 15 Nov 2012

Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) has honoured two imprisoned writers, Dolma Kyab and WU Yilong, the laureates of ICPC's Liu Xiaobo Courage to Write Award in 2012 for their long-term tenacity and courage in writing regardless of imprisonments. Besides, ICPC have named 8 new honorary members - CHEN Xi, GAO Zhisheng, Tashi Rabten, Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, Kunga Tseyang, Gangkye Drubpa Kyab, RAO Wenwei and LI Bifeng.

As of today, 61 of ICPC's 78 previous honorary members have been released, while 17 remain in prison, including KONG Youping, Nurmuhemmet YASIN, QI Chonghuai, XU Wanping, LU Jianhua, GUO Quan, TAN Zuoren, Hailaite Niyazi, LIU Xianbin, CHEN Wei, LI Tie, Memetjan Abdulla, Jangtse Donkho, Buddha, Kalsang Jinpa, Dokru Tsultrim, and WEN Yan. Four ICPC members, SHI Tao, YANG Tongyan, LIU Xiaobo and ZHU Yufu, are still in jail.

The "Liu Xiaobo Courage to Write Award" was previously ICPC’s “Writers in Prison Award” created in 2006. The previous laureates from 2006-2009 were YANG Tongyan, ZHANG Lin, LÜ Gengsong, DU Daobin and XU Zerong. In March 2010, it was renamed after Dr. Liu Xiaobo, ICPC’s honorary president and former president, to mark his courage in writing manifested over the last 20 years as well as his constant support to this award. Dr. Liu was detained in 8 December 2008 and has been serving a severe sentence of 11 years in prison since 2009. The previous laureates of the award in 2010 and 2011 were LIU Xianbin, Zarganar (Burma), Hada, QIN Yongmin and CHEN Wei.

Dolma Kyab, 36, is a Tibetan writer and former teacher in Qinghai Province. He was born in a village in Qilian County, Qinghai Province in 1976. He graduated from Qinghai Normal University and became a teacher in a secondary school in Qilian County. Then he went to Beijing for further studies, and exiled to Dharamsala, India in 2003. He studied English in an adult school founded by the exiled Tibetan Government and wrote the Chinese draft of The Restless Himalayas. He returned to Tibet in May 2004 and taught in a secondary school in Lhasa. After he finished editing the book, he collected information to prepare for writing another book on the history and geography of Tibet. On 9 March 2005, he was arrested and then on 30 November sentenced to ten and a half years imprisonment by the Lhasa Intermediate People's Court after a secret trial. It was reported he was transferred from Lhasa to a Reform-Through-Labour camp in Xining, Qinghai Province in July 2007 and suffered from serious illness. His book The Restless Himalayas, which caused severe punishment to Dolma Kyab, was originally written in Chinese, with 57 Chapters and more than 180,000 characters. It has been translated into Tibetan by the Exiled Tibetan Writers PEN. The Chinese and Tibetan versions were published in Dharamsala, India in 2007. PEN International and other human rights groups have been concerned about the case of Dolma Kyab as a typical example of Chinese authorities violating freedoms of speech, writing and publication, and have repeatedly launched solidarity campaigns to urge the Chinese authorities to release Dolma Kyab. But the Chinese Government keeps ignoring these actions.

WU Yilong, 45, is a freelance writer and a prominent human rights activist based in Zhejiang Province. He graduated from Anhui University and became a college teacher. He studied for a master's degree in literary and art theories at Hangzhou University (later merged into Zhejiang University) in 1996. He established “Hangzhou Sanlian Book Club” in May 1998 to discuss social problems and edited the club's journal Readers magazine. In June 1998, Wu Yilong and Wang Youcai, Zhu Zhengming and others organized to set up the Zhejiang Province Preparatory Committee of the China Democratic Party. Wu was also involved in drafting of the Charters of China Democratic Party (CDP) and the Declaration of Establishment of the Zhejiang Province Preparatory Committee of CDP. In September 1998, he participated in founding and editing Opposition, the journal of his committee. In November 1998, he was elected as one of the 53 contact persons of the National Preparatory Committee of CDP and applied to the relevant government departments to register the CDP. On 19 January 1999, Wu was dismissed from Zhejiang University although he had completed his thesis for graduation. On the evening of 26 April 1999, he was arrested in Guangzhou when visiting his friends there. Then, he was taken back to Hangzhou and was put under “residential surveillance”. On 15 September 1999 he was arrested with Mao Qingxiang, Zhu Yufu and Xu Guang as co-accused suspects by the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau. During detention, Wu secretly sent out a letter through some friends' help in which he detailed the purpose of founding CDP and its four principles of being “open, rational, non-violent and lawful”. On 25 October 1999, Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court held an open hearing of the case of Wu Yilong, Mao Qingxiang, Zhu Yufu and Xu Guang. On 2 November 1999 Wu Yilong was sentenced to eleven years imprisonment and three years deprivation of political rights for “subverting the state power”. In prison, he completed 11 manuscripts about 5 million characters in total, including the Theory of Political Rights, the Interpretation of the Analects, and the Problems and Its Countermeasures in China. He was denied the right to parole because of his refusing to plead guilty. On 14 September 2010, he was released due to expiry of his sentence. Since then he has continued to write on the theories of democracy and took part in human rights activities. In August 2011, he joined ICPC. On the evening of 26 December 2011, his home was raided by Hangzhou state security police for two and a half hours. Then he was summoned for interrogation until 9 am in the morning of 27 December for “engaging in democratic activities” and forcibly escorted back to his hometown Zongyang County, Anhui Province. Later he attempted to return to Hangzhou for several times, but he was detained and deported back to Anhui Province.

Each year on 15 November, members of PEN international all over the world commemorate “Day of Imprisoned Writers” and honor the courage of our colleagues imprisoned to fight against the repression and defend freedom of expression. ICPC reiterates that freedom of expression, including freedom to write and publish, is inalienable and fundamental human rights. ICPC will continue to urge release of Liu Xiaobo, Dolma Kyab, Liu Xianbin, Chen Wei and all of those imprisoned for their words.

PEN International is the oldest human rights organization and international literary organization. ICPC is among its 145 member centers and aims to protect writers’ freedom of expression and freedom to write worldwide and advocates for the rights of writers and journalists who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted or harassed in China particularly.

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Patrick Poon, Executive Secretary
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