“Let the Olympic flame burn the prisons of thought down!”

Earlier today-- International Human Rights Day-- PEN President Francine Prose, along with Nelofer Pazira and Zheng Yi (the presidents of PEN Canada and Independent Chinese PEN, respectively) issued a letter to Hu Jintao, the President of the People’s Republic of China, and to Procurator General Mr. Jia Chunwang.
We are writing on behalf of our members and the entire community of International PEN, the worldwide association of writers, to urge you to release 40 of our colleagues who are in prison in your country in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

This past August, China launched a publicity campaign proclaiming “We Are Ready” to host the Olympic Games in August 2008. Today, on the 59th commemoration of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we challenge you to demonstrate that China is in fact ready – not just to stage the Olympics, but to acknowledge, protect, and celebrate the full rights of its citizens.
Read the rest here. They also included case work on those 40 writers, descriptions of which you can read here. More details about this campaign are here. You can also get help writing a letter to the Chinese government or to your US Representative.

Update: Salman Rushdie weighs in. “There are 40 of our colleagues in Chinese prisons who shouldn’t be in prison. It will be an embarrassment for China if even one of them is still in prison when the Games begin next August. There’s only one good number: zero.”

(The title of this post comes from Zheng Yi.)

1 comment:

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