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Court of appeal upholds six-year sentence against writer Zhang Jianhong; WiPC seriously concerned about his health

(WiPC/IFEX) - WiPC protests a court of appeal decision to uphold the six-year prison sentence handed down to prominent writer Zhang Jianhong (a.k.a. Li Hong) on 21 May 2007. PEN is also alarmed about reports that he is seriously ill and that an application for medical parole has not been considered. International PEN is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Zhang in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. It asks that he receive all necessary medical treatment pending his release.

According to PEN's information, the High People's Court of Zhejiang Province upheld the six-year prison sentence against Zhang on 21 May and he was immediately transferred to Changhu prison, Huzhou City. He is reportedly suffering from muscle necrosis, a condition which is deteriorating due to lack of adequate medical care in jail. On his doctor's advice, he applied for medical parole on 31 May, but there has reportedly been no response from the administrative authorities.

Zhang was convicted of "subversion" by a court in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, in eastern China on 19 March 2007 for "defaming the Chinese government" and "inciting subversion" in articles posted online between May and September 2006. He has been detained since his arrest on 6 September 2006. Aged 48, Zhang is known for his dissident activities and prolific writings. He is also a member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC). He was previously imprisoned from 1989 to 1991 for his pro-democracy activities. In August 2005, he founded the literary website Aiqinhai ( http://www.aiqinhai.org/ ), of which he was editor-in-chief, and which was banned in March 2006. He is also a regular contributor to the overseas Chinese sites Boxun ( http://www.boxun.com ) and The Epoch Times ( http://www.dajiyuan.com ).

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