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Imprisoned Internet writer and activist Zhu Yufu receives tougher sentence after retrial

(PEN/IFEX) - The following is a PEN American Center press release:

Zhu Yufu Receives Tougher Sentence After Re-Trial

New York, New York, April 10, 2008 - Nine months after trying and sentencing internet writer and activist Zhu Yufu to two years in prison for "obstructing the police from carrying out their public duty," a Chinese court has re-tried the dissident and added two years, four months and 26 days' deprivation of political rights after release to his original sentence. Zhu's new sentence comes only six days after prominent writer and human rights activist Hu Jia was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power."

PEN American Center today expressed concern over the harsher sentence, which was handed down yesterday by the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court, and said the trials of Zhu and Hu Jia offer further evidence that Chinese authorities have embarked on a major crackdown on dissent even as they attempt to present a new face to the world in advance of the Olympic Games.

"These nearly concurrent events seem to mark a trend in which the Chinese government, instead of making good on its promises for a more free and open society, is clamping down on peaceful dissent ahead of the Olympic Games," said Larry Siems, Director of the Freedom to Write and International Programs of PEN American Center. "We call on government officials to immediately put an end to restrictions on free expression and release Zhu Yufu and all other writers and journalists imprisoned in China, immediately and unconditionally."

Zhu Yufu, an Internet writer and founder and editor of the China Democracy Party's magazine, was arrested April 18, 2007 and sentenced to two years in prison on July 10, 2007, after pushing a policeman during his arrest. Zhu is currently being held in Zhejiang No. 6 Prison in Haining City, Zhejiang Province. He had been previously imprisoned and was released in 2006 after serving seven years for his dissident activity.

PEN American Center is the largest of the 145 centers of International PEN, the world's oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. The Freedom to Write Program of PEN American Center works to protect the freedom of the written word wherever it is imperiled. It defends writers and journalists from all over the world who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted, or attacked in the course of carrying out their profession. For more information on Zhu Yufu and the other 37 writers, journalists, and bloggers who are currently imprisoned in China, please see http://www.pen.org/china2008

Updates the Zhu case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/84876

For further information on Zhu's first conviction, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/77096

For further information on the Hu case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/92229

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