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Authorities crack down on dissidents

(PEN American Center/IFEX) - New York City, February 25, 2011 - The Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) today released a statement reacting to a wave of arrests of its members in China, including renowned lawyer Teng Biao and Ran Yunfei, calling them "new victims of a literary inquisition."

In its statement, which follows, ICPC notes that Teng Biao, the center's legal consultant, was detained after his Beijing home was raided on February 19. He has not been heard from since. Sichuan-based member Ran Yunfei was arrested the same day, and reports suggest that he is being charged with "subversion of state power," a serious offense that could lead to a long prison term. Wu Wei (pen name Ye Du), ICPC's webmaster, was detained and then forced to travel, and ICPC's web site has been shut down in an apparent cyber-attack. Several other members have been detained, harassed, or put under house arrest. The organization is calling for an end to the crackdown, including the lifting of all restrictions placed on Liu Xia, the wife of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who has been incommunicado since October 18, 2010, and recently sent out a plea for help.

The Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) was founded in 2001 by leading dissident writers both inside and outside China specifically to advance PEN's mission and values in the People's Republic of China. With a membership of approximately 300 writers, half of them living and working in China, ICPC has become an effective and internationally-recognized advocate for free expression on the mainland, and has frequently been a target of governmental censorship, harassment, and intimidation. Liu Xiaobo is a former and honorary president of the center.

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To read the full press release, click here
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