ICPC Statement to Protest Illegal Detention of Artist Ai Weiwei and Other Rights Defenders
Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) strongly protests that Chinese regime has detained prominent artist Ai Weiwei and other human rights defenders in serious violation of China’s legal procedure, call on all the communities over the world to pay a close attention to these cases.
According to the media reports, Ai Weiwei was taken into custody by the police at the Beijing Capital International Airport on April 3 when he was to catch a flight to Hong Kong and Taiwan for his artistic exchange activities. Then, a large number of police officers raided his residence and studio, confiscated dozens of computers and other items, and took his wife Lu Qing and eight staff members from his studio for interrogation at the police station. After several days of his detention, Ai’s family has got no notice of his situation. In the early morning today, however, the Chinese official Xinhua News Agency reported by citing the information from Beijing Public Security Bureau that Ai Weiwei was under investigation in accordance with the law for suspected involvement in economic crimes. On the same day, Wen Tao, a freelance journalist and one of Ai’s partners, was kidnapped by several unidentified persons on a street in Beijing, but the police has given no answer to who is responsible for his disappearance when facing his family’s inquiries so far.
Ai Weiwei, aged 53, an internationally calibratedrenowned artist, has got his solo art exhibitions in U.S., Japan, Sweden, Germany, Korea, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and other countries over the world, and was ranked 13 in Art Review’s guide to the 100 most powerful figures in contemporary art: Power 100, 2010. He was the co-designer of “Bird’s Nest”, the main stadium of Beijing Olympics, and later become a critic of the Chinese government for using the Olympics as “A Propaganda Show”. In September 2010, he published his first book “Time and Place”, a selection of his artistic essays. In recent years, he has been active to follow/promote a number of rights defending events, including the Yang Jia’s case, the investigation of children victims of Sichuan earthquake, the solidarity with Feng Zhenghu’s struggle for returning China, the investigation of the victims of a major fire accident at the Jiaozhou Road in Shanghai, etc. He has been repeatedly harassed and suppressed by the respective authorities. In early December last year, the police also denied him to leave China for an overseas visit.
ICPC has also learnt that its member Liu Zhengqing, s Guangzhou-based human rights lawyer was taken away by the police on March 25, his home was raided, and his computers and other items were confiscated. After more than 10 days of his detention, his family has not been informed of his whereabouts. Zhu Yufu, another member of ICPC, has been taken into custody over a month by the police in Hangzhou, and his family was orally informed of his detention for suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” but has got no formal notification yet. Dr. Teng Biao, the legal consultant of ICPC’s Writers in Prison Committee, human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong and freelance writer Ding Fangguan have been illegally detained in unknown locations over 45 days since taken away by the police in Beijing. Wu Yangwei (aka Ye Du), the coordinator of ICPC’s Internet Working Committee and its Webmaster, and human rights lawyer Tang Jingling have been illegally held by the police in Guangzhou in terms of “residential surveillance” in other city over 45 days for suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”, while their wives have been incommunicado under house arrest with their telephones cut off. In addition, writer Ran Yunfei, human rights activists Ding Mao and Chen Wei were detained by the police in Sichuan Province since late February and formally charged by the prosecution on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” in late March, respectively.
ICPC believes that, since last February, the popular “Jasmine actions” has continued to occur throughout China, and a large number of writers and activists have been detained, particularly after Liu Xianbin. ICPC Honorary Member was severely sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, Chinese regime decision to detain Ai Weiwei, an internationally renowned artist, is a farther step of intensifying its continuous repression on the civil society and citizens freedom of expression, thus indicting showing that the Chinese regime insists to go ahead regardless of its own laws, the public opinions at home and abroad, and the trend of world civilization. The police detentions of Ai Weiwei and many others have obviously violated China’s Criminal Procedure Law. Therefore, ICPC has reasons to fair that Ai Weiwei may likely encounter the miscarriage of justice and may face retaliation based on faked charges because of his internet expression and rights defending activism, and so calls on the international community to pay close attention to his case, and to urge the Chinese authorities to ensure the legal rights of Ai Weiwei and other detainees. ICPC calls once again on domestic and international publics to take concerns on the deterioration of freedom of expression in China, and to urge the Chinese authorities to free Ai Weiwei, Teng Biao , Jiang Tianyong, Ding Fangguan, Zhu Yufu, Wu Yangwei, Tang Jingling, Liu Zhengqing and others illegally detained, to release Ran Yunfei, Ding Mao, Chen Wei, and all of those imprisoned for their words, including ICPC members Liu Xiaobo, Shi Tao and Yang Tongyan.
International PEN is the oldest human rights organization and international literary organization. The Independent Chinese PEN Center is among its 145 member centers and aims to protect writers’ freedom of expression and freedom to write worldwide and advocates for the rights of writers and journalists who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted or harassed in China particularly.
For more information, contact
Yu Zhang, Dr.
Executive Secretary and WiPC Coordinator
Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC)
Tel: +46-8-50022792Email: [email protected], [email protected]