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Chinese writer released, remains under tight surveillance

(WiPC/IFEX) - 1 October 2012 - The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International welcomes the release of writer and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) Dr Jiao Guobiao on 27 September 2012 after two weeks in prison. However, he remains under tight surveillance. The WiPC calls for all restrictions against Jiao Guobiao to be lifted, and for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in the People's Republic of China for peacefully expressing their views.

According to PEN's information, Dr. Jiao Guobiao was arrested on 12 September 2012 on charges of "suspicion of inciting subversion of state power" following the publication of an article on the Chinese-language web site on 11 September 2012 which criticised the Chinese government's policies, including the territorial dispute with Japan over the Daioyu Islands. Dr Jiao had been placed under strict house arrest and surveillance since 6 September 2012, when he was banned from travelling to the 78th PEN International Congress in Gyeongju, South Korea, at which he was registered to attend. On 12 September 2012 PEN International sent a letter to the Chinese authorities protesting the travel ban.

Dr. Jiao Guobiao is based in Beijing and is a former associate professor at Beijing University's College of Journalism and Communications. He is a prominent journalist who worked for the Chinese Cultural Newspaper from 1996-2001, and has published widely on the issues of press freedom and human rights in China. He is internationally known for his journalistic writings and commentaries, and from 1998-2006 published seven major collections, many of which have been translated into English and Japanese. He was suspended from his teaching duties in March 2005 following the online publication of his critical article entitled "Denouncing the Central Propaganda Department", published in March 2004, which promoted press freedom. He has since been subject to heavy surveillance and harassment, and left China for Germany in November 2006, fearing arrest. In February 2008 he was invited to be Writer in Residence on the Norwich City of Refuge Programme. He returned to China at the end of the residency.

For more on Jiao's story and the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) click here.

Please send appeals:

* Welcoming the release of writer and ICPC member Dr Jiao Guobiao, and calling for all remaining restrictions against him to be lifted;
* Expressing alarm at the crackdown on dissent in which writers, journalists and human rights defenders are amongst those to have been targeted;
* Reminding the Chinese authorities of their obligations under Article 35 of the Chinese constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which it is a state party;

Send appeals to:

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. WiPC recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.

You may find it easier to write to the Chinese ambassador in your own country asking him or her to forward your appeal. Most embassies are obliged to forward such appeals to the relevant officials in the country. A letter or petition signed by an eminent member of your Centre may give make it more likely for your appeal to be considered. Similarly if your appeal is published in your local press and copied to the Chinese ambassador, this too may have greater impact.

See this useful link to find the contact details of the Chinese embassy in your country

**Please contact the PEN WiPC office in London if sending appeals after 31 October 2012**

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