Category Archives: News & Events

German president slams communism in provocative speech to Shanghai students on his China visit

Joachim Gauck in ShanghaiGermany’s president has condemned the illegitimacy of Communist rule in East Germany and lauded the benefits of human rights in a provocative speech to Shanghai university students on Wednesday. Continue reading

China Detains Thousands With Grievances as Year of Rooster Begins

Petitioners in Beijing (faces obscured) hold a banner demanding government intervention in their cases

Petitioners in Beijing (faces obscured) hold a banner demanding government intervention in their cases, Jan. 30 2017. Photo sent by Wu Jixin

Authorities in the Chinese capital have detained thousands of people who converged there to highlight grievances against government officials in their hometowns, sending them off to start the Year of the Rooster in a detention center. Continue reading

Read poems from the 7 countries affected by Trump’s immigration ban

A young girl dances with an American flag while women pray behind her during a protest against the temporary travel ban

A young girl dances with an American flag while women pray behind her during a protest against the temporary travel ban, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Credit: REUTERS/Laura Buckman

On Monday, Tehran-born poet Kaveh Akbar began tweeting out poetry written by poets from the seven countries — Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria — impacted by President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans immigrants from those countries. Continue reading

Trump Administration’s Threat to Impose Ideological Test for Immigrants Evokes Dark Chapter in U.S. History, says PEN America

PEN America-logoJanuary 27, 2017

NEW YORK—In response to an executive order to strengthen vetting of immigrants into the United States, signed this afternoon by President Donald J. Trump, PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel released the following statement: Continue reading

Nathan Albright: China’s Quest For Great Power: Ships, Oil, and Foreign Policy

China’s Quest for Great Power

By Bernard D. Cole, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD (2016)

China’s Quest for Great Power, the latest from Bernard D. Cole, is a combination of a high degree of knowledge about Chinese military and political strategy with some implicit recommendations for how the United States can deal with China’s ambitions. As Dr. Cole is a well-regarded scholar in Chinese naval affairs this volume could only come from someone with a high degree of familiarity with the published statements and papers of the PRC, as well as a high degree of insight and understanding into Chinese history and China’s contemporary situation with regards to internal and external factors. As a somewhat heavy policy brief, the book manages to be deeply insightful without being heavy-handed in its advice and recommendations. Rather than pursuing the goal of dealing successfully with regards to China in a ham-handed fashion, the author decided to lay China’s cards on the table as skillfully as possible and include some reasonable guesses where evidence is lacking. This allows the reader to come to their own conclusions about what can and should be done about China’s behavior. Continue reading

China Warns Officials to Stay on Message When Chatting Online

Man using a laptop at a Beijing office of Sina Weibo

Man using a laptop at a Beijing office of Sina Weibo, widely known as China’s version of Twitter, an early victim of President Xi Jinping’s ongoing campaign tighten online control, in April 2014 photo. AFP

The ruling Chinese Communist Party has published a warning to its officials using the popular chat app WeChat, banning them from making “off message” comments on social media. Continue reading

Chinese Activists Send Cards to Hundreds of Prisoners of Conscience

Family members of Chinese human rights lawyers jailed since a July 2015 crackdown

Family members of Chinese human rights lawyers jailed since a July 2015 crackdown, in undated photo. Courtesy of an RFA listener.

Rights activists in China have launched a greetings card campaign for political prisoners around the country ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations on Jan. 30, as foreign diplomats paid visits to embattled activists faced with eviction in Beijing. Continue reading

Arrest of Journalists Intimidates Press at Crucial Moment for Reporting on Mass Protest

NEW YORK—The arrests of several journalists covering protests in Washington, D.C., on felony riot charges is an alarming encroachment on the right of the press to document public demonstrations, PEN America said in a statement today.

Evan Engel of Vocativ, Alex Rubinstein of RT America, freelance journalist Aaron Cantu, and documentary producer Jack Keller were arrested while covering protests on the day of Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, along with at least two other independent journalists. They appear to have been caught up in mass arrests by police after some protesters committed acts of vandalism. Rubinstein, Engel, and Keller have stated that they identified themselves as press to the police, but were arrested anyway.

Felony riot charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

“Even a few weeks ago, the prospect of large numbers of journalists in America facing criminal charges, fines, and prison terms for doing their jobs would have seemed far-fetched,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN America. “By slapping these journalists with felony charges, the U.S. Attorney’s office is intimidating the press at a time when mass protests are expanding and there is a pressing need for accurate reporting in the public interest. It is the obligation of our government officials to enable rather than impair that. The U.S. Attorney should drop these charges immediately.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Sarah Edkins, Director of Communications:, +1.646.779.4830


Detained Chinese Rights Lawyer Files Complaint Over Torture in Detention

Detained Chinese rights lawyer Xie Yang1

Detained Chinese rights lawyer Xie Yang is shown with his daughter in an undated photo. Photo sent by an RFA listener

A rights group on Tuesday called for the immediate release of detained Chinese rights lawyer Xie Yang, detailing his lawyers’ reports of his torture in a police-run detention center in the central province of Hunan. Continue reading