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Health of imprisoned writer Zhang Jianhong rapidly deteriorating

(WiPC/IFEX) - WiPC is alarmed about reports that the health of prominent writer Zhang Jianhong (a.k.a. Li Hong) is rapidly deteriorating. 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, and on humanitarian grounds. It urges that he receives all necessary medical treatment pending his release.

Zhang was diagnosed in May 2007 with a form of muscular dystrophy, but did not receive any treatment until 20 October, when he was transferred from Qiaosi Prison to the Zhejiang Prison General Hospital. His condition is said to have worsened considerably as a result of prolonged lack of medical care. Repeated applications for medical parole have not been considered.

According to PEN's information, Zhang was convicted of "subversion" by a court in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, eastern China on 19 March 2007 for "defaming the Chinese government" and "inciting subversion" in articles posted online between May and September 2006. Zhang has been detained since his arrest on 6 September 2006. On 21 May 2007 the High People's Court of Zhejiang Province upheld the six-year prison sentence.

Zhang, aged 48, is known for his dissident activities and prolific writings. He is also a member of Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC). Zhang was previously imprisoned from 1989-1991 for his pro-democracy activities. In August 2005 he founded the literary website Aiqinhai.org ( 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 ).

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities:
- protesting the six-year prison sentence handed down to prominent writer Zhang Jianhong
- expressing serious concerns for the writer's health and regarding reports that his is not receiving adequate medical care
- calling for his immediate and unconditional release

APPEALS TO:

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

Governor of the Zhejiang Provincial People's Government
LU Zushan
Zhejiangsheng Renmin Zhengfu
9 Shengfulu
Hangzhoushi 310007
P.R.China.

Chief of the Zhejiang Provincial Prison Management Bureau
GE Bingyao
Zhejiangsheng Jianyu Guanliju
110 Tianmushanlu
Hangzhoushi
P.R.China

President of the Zhejiang Provinsial High People's Court
YING Yong
Zhejiangsheng Gaoji Renmin Fayuan
5 Machenglu
Hangzhoushi 310012
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. Please contact the PEN WiPC office in London if sending appeals after 31 December 2007

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