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ICPC Letter to British Council

ICPC Letter to British Council

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Published by English PEN
An open letter from the Independent Chinese PEN Centre to the British Council, concerning the London Book Fair 2012.
An open letter from the Independent Chinese PEN Centre to the British Council, concerning the London Book Fair 2012.

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Published by: English PEN on Apr 13, 2012
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04/13/2012

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独立独立独立独立中文笔会中文笔会中文笔会中文笔会
Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC)
President: Tienchi Martin-Liao, Vice-presidents: Shiying Zhao & Jiang BoSecretary-general: Shiying Zhao, Deputy Secretary-general: Yu ZhangSödra Jordbrovägen 19, NB, SE-137 65 Jordbro, Sweden
Tel:
+46-8-50022792
Fax:
+46-8-50224191
Email:
yuzhang08@live.se
Press release embargoed until April 12, 2012
A Letter to the British Council on the London Book Fair
April 10, 2012
Dear Madams/SirsIt has come to our attention that for this month’s London Book Fair that you have invited the Administrationof Press and Publication of the People’s Republic of China (GAPP-PRC), which has long banned the workswritten by a large number of dissident writers, among them Dr. Liu Xiaobo, laureate of the 2010 Nobel PeacePrize. The GAPP-PRC
 
has carefully selected 181 publishers and 31 official writers to present its ownachievement in government-approved and censored literatures.In order to give English authors and readers a broader understanding of the situation of Chinese literature andChinese writers, we would like to name only a few writers whose works have been completely banned andwho had to serve in prison for their writings in China. Like Liu Xiaobo, they have lost their freedom to writeas well as their personal freedom, which is why we believe they need all more the support from the BritishCouncil. We hope that through your support to introduce, cite and spread their literary works - fiction, verseand prose, as well as their writings which have been labelled and condemned as crimes - to their Britishcolleagues and the British public. Among them are many PEN members and honorary PEN members,including the literary critic and poet
Liu Xiaobo
, presently serving his 11-year imprisonment, and his wife
Liu Xia
, a poet who has been held under house arrest for a year and a half;
Zhu Yufu
, a writer recentlysentenced to seven years in prison mainly for a poem he wrote after his release from a 9-year imprisonment;
Yang Tongyan
(aka Yang Tianshui), a novelist and poet serving his 12-year sentence in jail after a previous10-year imprisonment;
Shi Tao
, a journalist and poet serving his 10-year imprisonment;
NurmuhemmetYasin
, an Uighur novelist and poet serving his 10-year imprisonment;
Tan Zuoren
, an environmentalist andwriter serving his 5-year imprisonment;
Zhang Jianhong
(aka Li Hong), a poet and novelist who died soonafter his release on medical parole after suffering complete paralysis due to his stay in prison;
Dr. David Tsui
 (aka Xu Zerong), an Oxford scholar who was released last year after serving 11 years in prison;
Yu Jie
, anauthor who has been forced to take asylum in the United States this year after he was silenced by brutal beatings and tortures for his book for a period of over one year;
Liao Yiwu
, a poet and author who has beenforced into exile in Germany last year;
Zhou Qing
, a writer of Munich City whose works have been bannedin China;
Jiao Guobiao
, a Beijing-based author whose works have been banned in China;
Ma Jian
, aLondon-based novelist, and
Bei Ling
, a Germany-based poet and publisher, both of whom were denied entryto China last year, and many others. Particularly, we wish British and international writers and visitors of theLondon Book Fair to hear the voice of 
Ms. Woeser
, a Tibetan writer restricted at her home in Beijing, tohelp the general public understand the tragic events of continuous and large-scale self-immolations in Tibet,while dozens of Tibetan writers and scholars who have raised their voice about the political situation in Tibet,have been imprisoned there, including
Domal Kyab, Tashi Rabten, Jangtse Donkho, Buddha, KalsangJinpa, Dokru Tsultrim, Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang and Kunga Tseyang
. In PEN’s case lists alonethere are over 40 writers imprisoned in China for their writings.
 
独立独立独立独立中文笔会中文笔会中文笔会中文笔会
Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC)
President: Tienchi Martin-Liao, Vice-presidents: Shiying Zhao & Jiang BoSecretary-general: Shiying Zhao, Deputy Secretary-general: Yu ZhangSödra Jordbrovägen 19, NB, SE-137 65 Jordbro, Sweden
Tel:
+46-8-50022792
Fax:
+46-8-50224191
Email:
yuzhang08@live.se
The British Council has emphasized that the Chinese writers are being invited for their writings in and aboutChina, in order to broaden the understanding of Chinese literature in Britain and to promote culturalexchange between the two countries. We cannot but ask: to understand Chinese literature, should the British people rely on the recommendations by the Chinese government alone? Is there no need to learn about theauthors who will never be able to get a recommendation from the government and whose works have been banned in China? Should Václav Havel have been ignored because he was imprisoned while his works had been banned by the former Czechoslovakian authorities? Should Joseph Brodsky’s creations not have beenconsidered a part of Russian literature when he was jailed in the former Soviet Union or after he was forcedinto exile? Should Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie no longer be able to promote cultural exchange between theUnited Kingdom and India? We believe that such a view, which the British Council is now running the risk of emphasizing, is unfair to the many writers who have been banned, imprisoned in, or exiled from China.London is the birthplace of PEN International. It is in the British tradition of humanism to be concernedabout all the writers who are politically persecuted and to promote their release from prison. It is on this basis that we sincerely request the British Council to draw attention to the situation of the writers whoseworks are banned in China.We have also noted that you are using the term “Chinese literature". As the official, government approvedwriters generally represent the government, the official literature allowed by GAPP-PRC is only a verylimited part of Chinese literature, mainly representing so-called "socialist literature with Chinesecharacteristics". It cannot but reflect far less than a full view of Chinese literature. Chinese literature mustinclude independent literature, beyond official censorship and banning, heretical literature, undergroundliterature, prison literature and exile literature. Therefore, please do not support the Chinese government’sGAPP-PRC’s misleading presentation for British authors and readers.A society where writers have lost their human rights and professional freedom under the conditions restricted by their government is not a free society. If the British Council wishes to promote an authentic culturalexchange in a free and civilized way, please do not disregard the independent writers whose works arededicated to shaping a Chinese civil society, especially those who has lost freedom and whose works have been banned by GAPP-PRC to present at the Book Fair.We are looking forward to hearing from you.Kind regards,
 Signed byIndependent Chinese PEN CentreGerman PEN Center Center PEN Swiss RomandSan Miguel PEN Center Portuguese PEN Center PEN The Netherlands
 
独立独立独立独立中文笔会中文笔会中文笔会中文笔会
Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC)
President: Tienchi Martin-Liao, Vice-presidents: Shiying Zhao & Jiang BoSecretary-general: Shiying Zhao, Deputy Secretary-general: Yu ZhangSödra Jordbrovägen 19, NB, SE-137 65 Jordbro, Sweden
Tel:
+46-8-50022792
Fax:
+46-8-50224191
Email:
yuzhang08@live.se
Lithuanian PEN CentreSydney PEN Center PEN Centre for German-speaking Writers AbroadPEN CanadaCentre Québécois du PENUyghur PEN Center PEN Center of Tibetan Writers AbroadPEN Esperanto, Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC)PEN Flanders Center, Board member Geertrui Daem, head of WiPC Xavier Roelens, members Prof.Joris Gerits, Frank De Vos and Hilde Keteleer Dr. Bashabi Fraser, Edinburgh Napier University, Member of Scottish PEN Center Ulrich Schreiber, Director of International Literature Festival, BerlinProf. Gereon Sievernich, Martin-Gropius-Bau, BerlinBeijing SpringQi's Cultural FoundationTendency Inc. (Publisher, Taiwan)(more to join)
 
For more information, contact  Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC)
1)
 
Tienchi Martin-Liao
 , President,Tel: +49 176 5472 3721, +49-176 5472 3721(m)email:
 
tienchimartin@gmail.com 2)
 
 Patrick Poon
 , Executive SecretaryTel: +852-94173765email:
 
 poonkarwai@gmail.com 3)
 
Yu Zhang 
 , Coordinator of Press & Translation CommitteeTel: +46-8-50022792email: yuzhang08@live.se ,icpc.members@gmail.com  Websites:http://www.chinesepen.org/englishand http://www.liuxiaobo.eu/  

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