Where There Is Life, There Is Hope – Briefings on the Ninth Congress of ICPC and Its Administration Changes

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Where There Is Life, There Is Hope

– Briefings on the Ninth Congress of ICPC and Its Administration Changes

From April 29 to May 13, 2020, the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) held online the ninth congress of its Membership Assembly. 82 of its 153 voting members signed up to attend the congress. The membership assembly held four plenary sessions, approved the work and financial reports submitted by the Board of Directors, and elected the new Board according to its Charter. Among 11 candidates, nine were elected as the directors. They are Mr. ZHAO Shiying, Mr. LI Hai, Mr. ZHAO Changqing, Ms. LI Jianhong, Mr. XU Yonghai. Ms. LIU Di, Mr. LIU Zhengqing, Mr. Song TAN and Mr. PEI Yiran. Mr. DU Daobin and Mr. SUN Honglu were elected as alternate directors. Eight of them are based in China mainland though the human rights situation there have been getting worse with 13 of their colleagues of ICPC members still imprisoned, including Mr. ZHANG Guiqi (aka LU Yang), the 12th candidate who have been detained for suspision of “inciting subversion” by the police in Shandong Province since May 1 before the ICPC election.

On May 17, the 9th Board of Directors held its first meeting online.  Prof. PEI Yiran was elected as the president, Mr. ZHAO Shiying (previous vice-president) and Prof. TANG Song as vice-presidents, and Dr. Yu ZHANG as the secretary-general.

During May 20-30, the Board  held two succesvie meetings to have implemented the system of divided responsibilities among Board members, appoining three board members to serve as directors of  working groups subordinated to the Board, and approving the administrative officers nominated by the president and the secretary-general. The daily administration has been adjusted to include the secretariat and three committees, with the following appointments: Ms. LIU Di and Mr. Biao CHEN as deputy secretary-generals, Mr. LIU Zhengqing as director and Dr. Yu ZHANG as coordinator of the Writers in Prison and Freedom to Write Committee (WiPC), Prof. Liran PEI as director and Mr. Biao CHEN as coordinator of the Press, Exchange and Translation Committee, and Ms. LI Jianhong as director and Ms. TSOI Wing-Mui as coordinator of the Women Writers’ Committee.

Ms. Tienchi MARTIN-LIAO, the congress chairman and the previous president of ICPC, made a closing remark on May 13 as stating below,

“The ninth Congress, which lasted over two weeks, is now successfully concluded. During the process, there were some discussions and controversies, but they were all within a relatively rational and moderate range. From the work and financial reports submitted at the last session, we can see that ICPC has still not solved financial difficulties in recent years while those leading various committees have been all volunteers and carried out their tasks very responsibly. Over the years, there are some members who have been continuously persecuted for their words, imprisoned or house-arrested, and whose lives and families have become very difficult. Therefore, ICPC has focused its work on rescue and aid, providing some little financial assistance with very few resources. Although an utter insufficiency in dealing with a severe, it has been an expression of sincerity among our colleagues. This is the tradition for ICPC to uphold sincere solidarity and mutual assistance.

“The nine newly elected directors and two alternates have been promoted by our members. This is a trust as well expectation. During the constant changes in our era, adversity can sometimes turn into prosperity. This new leadership has a few seniors, but most of them are fresh, also getting younger. This is a good sign and start. As an outgoing president, I sincerely congratulate the elected directors, thank you for taking up the important tasks at risk to defend freedom of expression, and I eagerly look forward to your courage to lead ICPC steadily, and continue the aims of our predecessors, without discourage while facing frustration, since the truth is on our side.

“Finally, I would like to extend my sincere blessings to all members. During this period of global epidemic, please cherish the health of yourselves and your families. Where there is life, there is hope. I look forward to the day when ICPC will be able to hold a congress within China. Then, I will have the opportunity to know every colleague whose name I have already been familiar with. Perhaps this is a beautiful vision not too far away.”


PEN International is the world’s oldest human rights organization and international literary organization. ICPC is one of PEN International’s 159 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, please contact:

Prof. Yiran Pei, President of ICPC
E:  [email protected], T: +1-718-5171 3601

Dr. Yu Zhang, Secretary-general, and Coordinator for Writers in Prison Committee
E: [email protected], T: +46-8-5002 2792

Biao Chen, Deputy Secretary-general, and Coordinator for Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee
E: [email protected], T: +1-339-204 3533

Wing Mui Tsoi, Coordinator for Women Writers’ Committee
E: [email protected], T: +852-6287-3050

Tienchi Martin-Liao, Previous President of ICPC, and Vice-chair of Writers for Peace Committee, PEN Inernational
E: [email protected], T: +49-221-8015 8705