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Internet writer and activist detained

(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of Guo Quan, Internet writer and activist, who has reportedly been held on charges of "inciting subversion" since 13 November 2008. The WiPC fears that Guo Quan may be held for his online writings, and if so, calls 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.

According to the WiPC's information, Guo Quan was arrested at his home in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, on 13 November 2008. His wife reports that he has been charged with "inciting subversion of state power", a charge commonly used to suppress dissent. It is feared that he may be detained for the views expressed on his web blog, in which he allegedly called for democracy and criticized the Nanjing government for its decision to build a chemical plant in the city. Others suspect that the charges could be linked to his role in organizing a new political party, the China Xinmin Party, in December 2007.

At the time of his arrest, the police confiscated Guo Quan's articles and his computer. It is believed that Guo Quan is currently held at Nanjing City Public Security Bureau.

Guo Quan has been previously arrested by the Chinese authorities. For example, in May 2008 he spent ten days in prison for "violating of public order". He is a professor at Nanjing University; however, due to his political activities he has been banned from teaching.

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