A Protest Statement about Persecution of Female Writers Including ICPC Member Liu Yanli
The Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC)
November 28, 2018
The Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) was shocked to learn that Ms. Liu Yanli, ICPC member and well-known blogger was summoned by the police in Jingmen City, Hubei Province on November 21 2018. Her family was informed the next day that she was beaten up and sent to the hospital for emergency treatment. Her father and other family members then rushed to Jingmen. At the entrance of the Second People’s Hospital of Jingmen City, they were surrounded by several public security personnel and refused to enter the hospital to visit her. Immediately after that, the news was spread out that Liu Yanli was officially arrested with the approval by the procuratorate.
Liu Yanli, aged 43, is a bank employee in Jingmen City, Hubei Province and also a well-known online and blog writer with her net name is “Marching to Resurface”. Since 2009, she has been repeatedly summoned, harassed, and taken away computers by the national security personnel of the public security authorities in Jingmen City, Hubei Province for her writings over the Internet and in blogs. In September 2016, Liu Yanli was retaliated because of slamming the mistakes and shirking of relevant local authorities. She was taken away from the work unit by Jingmen police on September 26 and was placed in criminal custody on the following day for “incited defamation”. She was officially arrested on November 2, being accused of sending information in the circle of friends on WeChat “defaming the leaders of the country such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai”. On May 27, 2017, she was released on bail pending trial. After the termination of the one-year term, she was ordered to live at home under surveillance for half a year. During that period, she was often harassed and summoned by the police. Liu Yanli was arrested again a few days ago, apparently because of her speech again.
ICPC has been paying close attention to Liu Yanli’s case: on the third day after her arrest in September 2016, ICPC issued “Statement on Criminal Detention of Member Liu Yanli”, demanding immediate and unconditional release of her; On December 7, 2016, ahead of World Human Rights Day, PEN International called on the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all writers, journalists, bloggers and publishers and included Liu Yanli as one of the typical cases.
According to another report, Ms Liu, a well-known female novelist (pen name “Tianyi”), was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in prison and fined by the People’s Court of Wuhu County, Anhui Province on October 31, 2018 for the “crime of making and selling obscene articles for profit” due to her writing and selling online her homosexual novel “Occupation”.
In September last year, the 83rd PEN International Congress adopted and issued Women’s Manifesto, which points out “For women to have free speech, the right to read, the right to write, they need to have the right to roam physically, socially and intellectually. …Humanity is both wanting and bereft without the full and free expression of women’s creativity and knowledge.” The 5th article of the Manifesto emphasizes that “Ensure that women are given the same access to the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to enable the full and free participation and public recognition of women in all media and across the spectrum of literary forms. Additionally, ensure equal access for women and girls to all forms of media as a means of freedom of expression.”
The UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group examined for the third time the human rights record of some countries on November 6 2018, reviewing the human rights status of 14 States including China. Only slaves have no personal freedom and no normal social rights. China, the so-called ” Rising China”, fears the voices of women so much that it made Liu Yanli and other Chinese women writers criminals again and again just because of their words and speeches. It is really intolerable!
The Independent Chinese PEN Center firmly upholds the rights of Chinese women and strongly condemns the Chinese authorities for repeatedly infringing on the freedom of speech, freedom of press and personal freedom of female writers such as Liu Yanli, calling on domestic and foreign circles to pay attention to the deterioration of human rights in China, including women’s rights, and demanding the Chinese authorities to be in compliance with the Chinese Constitution and relevant international human rights conventions to guarantee all rights of women, and release Liu Yanli immediately and unconditionally, release female writers and other people such as Tian Yi who have been convicted of crimes because of their writing or speech.
The Independent Chinese PEN Center is one of 157 member centers of PEN International, the oldest human rights organization and international literary organization. It aims to protect Chinese writers’ freedom of speech and freedom to write worldwide and advocates for the rights of Chinese writers and journalists who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted or harassed. For more information about ICPC’s work to protect writers and defend freedom of speech, please visit: https://www.chinesepen.org/.