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Liu Xiaobo Anniversary: Take Action for Gui Minhai

Friday 4 December 2020 - 10:57am

Gui Minhai

Name: Gui Minhai
Occupation: Poet, publisher, writer, bookseller
Situation: Detained. Sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
#LiuXiaoboanniversary #GuiMinhai

Gui Minhai is a Swedish poet, writer, member of the Independent Chinese Centre (ICPC), and bookseller. Gui developed a love of poetry while studying history at Peking University. He later relocated to Sweden in the late 1980s to continue his studies, earning a PhD in Chinese history at the University of Gothenburg.

During the mid-2000s, Gui’s writing shifted from academic essays to commentaries on Chinese politics, including stories of political intrigue surrounding the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership. He became an active member of the publishing industry in Hong Kong, establishing several publishing houses specialising in books that were banned in the mainland.

Gui was one of five Hong Kong booksellers who were forcibly disappeared in 2015. In October 2015, Gui was reportedly abducted from his vacation home in Thailand and renditioned to the PRC by the security services, where he has remained in detention in the time since. On 24 February 2020, Gui was formally sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on national security charges.

PEN International considers Gui Minhai’s detention to be a clear breach of his right to freedom of expression and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Take Action

  • Send an appeal to the Chinese authorities
  • Tell others: share Gui’s case and his work
  • Donate to Pen International

Ask the authorities to:

  • Release Gui Minhai immediately and unconditionally.
  • Provide Gui Minhai with immediate access to appropriate medical care.
  • Provide Gui Minhai with unrestricted access to legal representatives of his choosing and to representatives of the Swedish government.
  • End all policies that contravene the PRC government’s international human rights obligations.

Sample tweet:

#GuiMinhai’s detention is a breach of his right to freedom of expression. I call for his immediate and unconditional release. #LiuXiaoboanniversary @mfachina [or Twitter handles for other contacts below]

President Xi Jinping – General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and President of the People’s Republic of China.

Address: General Secretary Office, Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Zhongnanhai Ximen, Fuyou Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 100017, People’s Republic of China


Ambassador GUI Congyou –Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Sweden

Address: Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Sweden, Lidovägen 8, 115 25 Stockholm, Sweden


Ambassador CHEN Xu –Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Address: 11, Chemin de Surville 1213 Petit-Lancy, Geneva, Switzerland.



Ambassador ZHANG Jun – Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations.

Address: 350 East 35th Street, New York, NY 10016, USA.



Send copies to the diplomatic representatives in country:‌/zwjg_665342‌/2490_665344/

We encourage PEN members to continue to:

  • Publish articles and opinion pieces about this case in your national or local press;
  • Share information about Gui Minhai and your campaigning via social media; please use #LiuXiaoboanniversary and #GuiMinhai
  • Organise public events, press conferences and demonstrations.

Please let us know about your activities and actions. This helps us monitor the impact of our campaigning.

Sample tweet:

On the Liu Xiaobo Anniversary join @PEN_Int and call for the release of poet, publisher, writer and bookseller #GuiMinhai. Detained. Sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment [insert link]

Read Père David’s Deer, a poem written by Gui Minhai while in detention on 10 December 2017.

Under the harsh light day and night
I quickly turned into a Père David’s deer
it took only seven hundred days or so
for my graying hair to evolve into antlers
These strange creatures don’t live here
they say my name is “Neither Fish Nor Fowl”
When I was caught I started to evolve
When I started to evolve, I was tamed
As soon as my clothes were peeled away
I became a tamed David’s deer
I sobbed in front of the cameras
admitting I was a deer that had strayed away
In the secret garden, my swift devolution
turned speech into furry groans
turned a hat into a black hood
turned nationality and citizenship into diplomatic dispute
In every Chinese encyclopedia, it is written
that Père David’s deer is a rare beast unique to China
thus one such deer, at ease in the Swedish forest
began a new life in an Asian swamp
I am a devolved David’s deer
unable to choke down poems or prose
but while I am shamed in the swamp
I still yearn to run through the Swedish woods.

English translation by Anne Henochowicz.

To learn about Liu Xiaobo Anniversary campaign, click here

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