25 January 2012
The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International condemns the imprisonment of the writer Zhu Yufu, who has been charged with ‘subversion’ for a poem posted online. The WiPC calls for his immediate and unconditional release, and that of all those currently detained in the People’s Republic of China for peacefully expressing their views.
The following information is given by The Guardian:
‘Chinese authorities have indicted veteran dissident Zhu Yufu on subversion charges for writing a poem urging people to gather to defend their freedoms, his lawyer said. He is the latest activist to face such charges.
Zhu, 60, from the eastern city of Hangzhou, was arrested last April for "inciting subversion of state power". No trial date has been set, his lawyer, Li Dunyong, said on Tuesday.
"The main reason for the indictment was a poem he had written calling for people to gather. He had written the poem around the same time there was chaos [in the Middle East]," Li said. "He believes in freedom of expression."
Li collected the indictment on Monday from a court in Hangzhou and met Zhu, whom he described as being in a good condition. Calls to the Hangzhou intermediate court were unanswered on Tuesday.
The authorities disclosed their decision to prosecute Zhu nearly a year after Zhu had written the poem, titled It's time.
A verse reads: "It's time, Chinese people!/the square belongs to everyone/the feet are yours/it's time to use your feet and take to the square to make a choice." Zhu's lawyer said the poem had been published online.
Li said, however, that Zhu had nothing to do with the online calls for 'Jasmine revolution' rallies inspired by uprisings in the Middle East.
Police rounded up dozens of dissidents in response to the calls, which began on an overseas Chinese website that is blocked to most people in mainland China by censorship walls. The attempted rallies were tiny and the demonstrators were quickly outnumbered by hundreds of police and security guards.
Li said he will defend Zhu on the basis of freedom of expression but believes Zhu's prospects for victory look bleak.
"You can't be optimistic about anything in China," he said. "In this country, he'll be punished harshly."
China's Communist party is preparing for a leadership handover late this year, when its determination to fend off political challenges to its rule is likely to intensify…’
To read the full text of the poem ‘It’s Time’, translated into English by A.E. Clark, click here.
Please send appeals:
Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of dissident poet Zhu Yufui, imprisoned by the P.R.China for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression;
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 signatory;
Send appeals to:
His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of 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 Chinese embassies abroad
**Please contact the PEN WiPC office in London if sending appeals after 29 February 2012**
For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: firstname.lastname@example.org