9 Feburary 2016
The Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) held its 7th Congress of Membership Assembly at a Google group forum on Internet on 22 Janurary – 09 Feburary 2016. Among ICPC’s 318 members, 162 participated in the Congress. According to the agenda adopted by the Congress, five sessions were held. The Congress adopted an amendment to ICPC’s Rules of Procedure of Membership Assembly, approved the work report and financial report submitted by the Board and elected the new Board in accordance with the ICPC’s Charter. Columnist Mrs. Tienchi Martin-Liao, a former president, has been re-elected the new President.
ICPC was established in July 2001 and was subsequently approved with majority votes to be a member centre at the PEN International’s 67th Congress in London in October 2001. It was founded by 31 famous Mainland Chinese and overseas Chinese writers, including Bei Ling, Yu Haocheng (deceased), Liu Xiaobo (imprisoned), Liu Xia, Meng Lang, Cai Chu, Chen Maiping and Li Jianhua. Two prominent writers Liu Binyan (deceased) and Zheng Yi, who were in exile in the United States, were the President and Vice-president. From 2003 to 2013, its six Congresses were held on Internet. The Beijing-based prominent dissident writer Dr. Liu Xiaobo was twice president, Zheng Yi was president for the following term and Tienchi Martin-Liao, who lives in Germany, was president for the following two terms, and then Bei Ling in Taiwan. During its 2nd Congress, the ICPC Charter was amended to encourage wider scope of Chinese writers to join according to the membership criteria of PEN International. During its 5th Congress, further amendments were made to the ICPC Charter with the particular provisions relating to the rights and obligations of its members to strengthen its membership system, reforms from the “President-led System” to “Board-led System”, the term shortening of the Board Members from four years to two years, the lifting of some restrictions, such as on publication, in order to enhance the democratic procedures and membership participations, and further to promote freedom to write and publish.
The Chairperson of this Congress was Chen Biao, the ICPC executive secretary. On the first session, the Agenda of the Congress was adopted by voting. During the 2nd session, the work report and financial report by the Board were discussed and approved by voting through email.
The 3rd session of the Congress was the election of the new Board. Among 15 candidates, 9 were elected new members of the Board, including four previous board members Qi Jiazhen (female), Zhao Shiying, Du Daobin and Liu Di (female) and five newly elected members, including Tienchi M.Liao (female), Li Hai, Li Jianhua, Li Huaping and Zhang Yongpan. Two alternate members of the Board are Wang Jinzhong and Li Yunzhong. Hu Ping was elected with majority a honorary director. During the 4th session of the Congress, Mrs. Tienchi M.Liao was re-elected ICPC’s new President.
During the last session of the Congress, the newly elected President Tienchi M.Liao said:
The freedom of expression inside China has been suppressed more severely in the last years. Since its founding, ICPC has supported our Chinese literary colleagues in publishing their writings either online or physically as well as provided them humanitarian help. Currently ICPC has some internal crisis. Some members have different opinions to the structure and bylaws of our organization. Therefore this time we had a prolonged congress as usual. However through the common effort, we overcame the dissension and the congress ended successfully with a new board.
As the newly elected president, I would like to invite all of you to join me to re-shape our PEN, to give it a fresh image of vitality and diversification. With courage to confront suppression, with tolerance and solidarity to divergence, we shall build up a harmonious big literary family which is open to all the literary friends.
PEN International is the oldest human rights organization and international literary organization. ICPC is among its 149 member centres and aims to protect writers’ freedom of expression and freedom to write worldwide. In particular ICPC also advocates for the rights of writers and journalists who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted or harassed in China.
Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC)