PEN: Signs "Discouraging" for Post-Olympics Human Rights Improvements in China

    New Report Details Actions Against Writers, the Press

    NEW YORK, TORONTO, STOCKHOLM, Oct. 17 /CNW/ - As the temporary
regulations for foreign journalists working in the People's Republic of China
expire today, three International PEN centers issued a report highlighting the
vulnerable position writers and journalists are in two months after an
Olympics that was supposed to usher in greater freedoms and human rights in

    According to the report, Beyond the Olympics: The Freedom to Write in
China, available at
    -   Foreign journalists in China were routinely prevented from reporting
        freely on various issues throughout China in the run up to and during
        the Olympics, despite regulations that supposedly guaranteed this
    -   Domestic journalists were never afforded the press freedom
        protections put in place for foreign journalists;
    -   China continues to exert blanket censorship of controversial issues
        in its domestic media;
    -   At least 12 writers were detained in China in the 8 months leading up
        to the Olympics;
    -   There are now more writers in prison than there were at the beginning
        of the year - 44 writers in prison today, four more than there were a
        year ago;
    -   Writers and dissidents have been subject to intensified harassment,
        house arrest, and detention. Their activities and conversations are
        closely monitored, including online conversations on Skype.

    The report specifically highlights the high price PEN members in China
have paid over the past year for their activism. The Independent Chinese PEN
Center (ICPC), a center of International PEN composed of 250 leading dissident
writers inside and outside China, faced increased restrictions on its
activities and members. At least 12 ICPC members were placed under house
arrest, prevented from traveling outside of their home cities, or prevented
from entering China because of the Olympics.

    Concluding that "our colleagues, and China's citizens as a whole, have yet
to see evidence of the human rights improvements their government pledged in
order to secure the Olympic Games," the report calls on the Chinese government
    -   Extend and make permanent the temporary press regulations established
        for the Olympic Games and include domestic journalists within these
    -   Release all writers and journalists currently imprisoned and stop
        detaining, harassing, and censoring writers and journalists;
    -   End Internet censorship, and reform laws used to imprison writers and
        journalists and suppress freedom of expression.

    PEN American Center, PEN Canada, and the Independent Chinese PEN Center
are among the 145 worldwide centers of International PEN, an organization that
works to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers
everywhere, to fight for freedom of expression, and represent the conscience
of world literature. For the "Beyond the Olympics" report and more information
on PEN's efforts to free writers imprisoned in China, please visit,, and

For further information:

For further information: Larry Siems, PEN American Center, (212)
334-1660 ext. 105,; Marian Botsford Fraser, PEN Canada, (416)
938-4204,; Yu Zhang, Independent Chinese PEN Center,

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