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Serious health concerns for long-detained writers Xu Wei, Jin Haike, Yang Zili and Zhang Honghai; reports of ill-treatment

(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is seriously concerned by recent reports of deteriorating health and lack of sufficient medical treatment for detained writers Xu Wei, Jin Haike, Yang Zili and Zhang Honghai, who are all serving lengthy sentences on subversion charges for their critical writings. PEN calls for them to be given all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency, and is alarmed at reports that two of the four have been ill-treated in detention. International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee considers all four to be detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

According to PEN's information, the four prisoners are all suffering from acute medical problems, some of which do not appear to have been properly diagnosed, and for which there are concerns that they are not receiving appropriate medical attention. Jin Haike, who received abdominal surgery in November 2007, is reportedly in acute pain. Zhang Honghai and Xu Wei were reportedly subjected to ill-treatment in prison, leading Xu Wei to stage hunger strikes in protest, exacerbating concerns for his well-being.

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