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Conviction of 81-year-old publisher an attempt to suppress China's history

This statement was originally published on on 25 February 2015.

The conviction of Chinese publisher Tie Liu is a manipulative attempt by Beijing to suppress the country's history, PEN American Center said in a statement today.

Tie, an 81-year-old publisher, and his assistant Huang Jing were tried in the southwestern city of Chengdu and convicted of operating an illegal business. Tie published a small-circulation, not-for-profit journal that collected the memoirs of individuals who had been persecuted for criticizing the Communist Party in the 1950s. Although he will not serve jail time unless he violates the terms of his probation, the unwarranted sentence effectively silences him and serves as a warning to others that no criticism of the Party, past or present, will be tolerated.

"This sentence, although relatively light by Chinese standards, is part of a broader pattern by authorities to crack down on any individual who attempts to express dissenting views and challenge the Communist Party's control over both news and historical information," said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN American Center. "We call for this spurious conviction to be quashed and for Tie to be allowed to continue his publishing without fear of repercussions."

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