China: Internet writer and activist sentenced
Published: November 2, 2009
English PEN strongly protests the ten year prison sentence handed down to dissident writer and activist Guo Quan, for 'subversion of state power'. We consider Guo Quan's conviction to be in violation of his right to expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and are therefore calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
According to our information, on 16 October 2009 a court in Jiangsu province sentenced Guo Quan to ten years in prison and three years of deprivation of political rights for his pro-democracy activities and critical writings. He was arrested at his home in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, on 13 November 2008 and charged with 'subversion' on 18 December 2008. According to the court verdict translated into English by Dui Hua, Guo was charged for a series of articles entitled 'Herald of Democracy' posted online between mid-2007 and November 2008, and for founding the opposition China New Democracy Party (CNDP). Guo, aged 41, is a former criminal-court judge and literature professor at Nanjing Normal University who according to Dui Hua 'became renowned online for his anti-Japanese nationalism, criticism of China's one-party political system, and support for "rights defenders" seeking redress for various forms of social injustice'. He wrote several open letters to Chinese leaders and was frequently briefly detained by police, most recently in May 2008 when he spent ten days in prison after criticising the government's response to the 12 May 2008 Sichuan earthquake. He was banned from teaching as a result of his political activities.
Please send appeals:
- Protesting the sentence imposed on Internet writer and activist Guo Quan;
- Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China 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. We therefore recommend that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments:
Her Excellency Mrs Fu Ying
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
49-51 Portland Place