Never Ever Put Our Pens Down
Briefings on the Eighth Congress of ICPC and Its Administration Change
(May 2nd, 2018)
From March 28 to April 9, 2018, the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) held the eighth congress of its membership assembly in its online community. 115 of its 213 voting members were recorded to attend the congress. The membership assembly held four sessions, amended the “Charter of Independent Chinese PEN Center” and the “Independent Chinese PEN Center’s Rules of Procedure of Membership Assembly”, and approved the work report and financial report submitted by the Board of Directors. The Membership Assembly reelected the board of directors according to its Charter. Among 12 candidates, 9 were elected as board members. They are Mr. WANG Jinbo, Ms. Tienchi MARTIN-LIAO, Ms. GAO Yu, Mr. ZHAO Shiying, Mr. HE Depu, Ms. QI Jiazhen, Mr. LI Hai, Ms. LIU Di and Mr. DU Daobin. Among them, seven are based in China. It is worth mentioning that Ms. GAO Yu, a famous dissident who had been jailed three times for freedom of speech, Mr. HE Depu and Mr. WANG Jinbo who were jailed due to founding the Democratic Party of China in the 1990s, have brought in new blood to the Board of Directors. Mr. PAN Yongzhong and Mr. XU Yonghai were elected as alternate board members.
On April 15th, the 8th Board of Directors held its first meeting. “The Board Rules of Order” were revised at the meeting in accordance with new articles of the Charter. Ms. Tienchi MARTIN-LIAO was reelected as the president, while Ms. GAO Yu and Mr. ZHAO Shiying (former secretary-general) were the vice presidents, and Mr. WANG (former deputy secretary-general) was appointed as the secretary-general.
On April 22nd, the 8th Board of Directors held the second meeting to implement the system of divided responsibilities among Board members, appoint three board members to serve as directors of three working groups subordinated to the Board, and approve proposed nominations made by the president and the secretary-general. The daily administration setup was adjusted to include the secretariat and four working committees, and the following appointments were made: Mr. PAN Yongzhong and Mr. YANG Guang as deputy secretary-general, Mr. HE Depu as director and Mr. Yu ZHANG as coordinator of the Writers in Prison and Freedom to Write Committee (WiPC), Ms. Tienchi MARTIN-LIAO as director and Mr. Biao CHEN as coordinator of the Press, Exchange and Translation Committee, Ms. QI Jiazhen as director and Ms. TSOI Wing-Mui as coordinator of the Women Writers’ Committee, and Ms. LIU Di as director and Mr. Lebao WU as coordinator of the Youth Committee. After the meeting, the restructuring of the working committees is in progress.
If pen is the sword for writers, then PEN center is the armor for writers. The new ICPC Board of Directors, having gone through the change of office just like a machine undergone maintenance and service, will rally to have a new start-out. As Winston Churchill remarked: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” What will the newly-built ICPC Board of Directors plan to shape? It can be summarized with two basic parts as follows:
I. The pen is writer’s tongue of soul, and this is the right for every single writer to take up his pen to search for truth. The PEN center is the platform for writers’ free writing. ICPC commits to promote Chinese literature and defend freedom of expression. We will work hard to strengthen literary exchanges between the languages of various nations in the world, to promote friendship and cooperation among writers, to preserve the writers’ freedom of speech, writing and publishing regardless of their political views, to protect writers from political persecutions, and to draw attentions to help the writers who were jailed due to their opinions.
II. ICPC will carry out Dr. Liu Xiaobo’s unfulfilled wishes, use our pens to conduct peaceful and rational enlightenment, facilitate the progress of human rights in China, pursue social fairness and justice, and move towards a China with freedom, democracy and the rule of law to come as early as possible!
Tienchi Martin-Liao, President, and Coordinator of Writers for Peace Committee
E: [email protected], T: +49-221-8015 8705
Biao Chen, Secretary, and Coordinator of Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee
E: [email protected]
Yu Zhang, Coordinator of Writers in Prison Committee
E: [email protected]
Wing Mui Tsoi, Coordinator of Women Writers’ Committee
E: [email protected]