World Poetry Day 2017 – Take Action for Liu Xia

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Liu Xia, China, is a poet, artist, and founding member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre. She has been held in her Beijing apartment without access to phones, Internet, doctors of her choice, or visitors since her husband, imprisoned poet Liu Xiaobo, was named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2010.

There are reports that Liu Xia’s mental and physical health are suffering due to her detention. She is reportedly suffering from severe depression and in February 2017 a rare phone call made to a friend has raised particular concern for her current mental state.

PEN International believes that the ongoing, extra-judicial house arrest of Liu Xia is a form of punishment for the human rights work carried out by her husband, Liu Xiaobo, and is extremely concerned for her physical and psychological integrity.

One Bird after Another – by Liu Xia

We saw it
A little reflection left on the glass
It had been printed there for a long time without leaving…

Every year on July 15 of the lunar calendar
The river would be covered with water lanterns
But they could not call back your soul…

The train heading for the concentration camp
Sobbingly ran over my body
But I could not hold your hand…

– Translation by Yu Zhang
– Edited by Bonny Cassidy

You can view writings by Liu Xia here.

Take Action


  • Send appeals to the Chinese authorities calling for the immediate and unconditional release from house arrest of the poet and artist Liu Xia, and calling for all restrictions on her freedom of movement to be lifted;
  • Calling for Liu Xia to be granted access to all necessary medical care;
  • Urging the authorities to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides for freedom of legitimate expression, and freedom of movement and reminding them that as a signatory to the ICCPR China is obliged to ‘refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose.’


His Excellency Xi Jinping

President of the People’s Republic of China

State Council

Beijing 100032

P.R. China

Fax: +86 10 6238 1025

PEN strongly recommends that you also send or, if possible, personally deliver the appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it to the Chinese authorities and welcoming any comments – see below for guidance.

You may find it easier to write to the Chinese ambassador in your own country asking him or her to forward your appeal. Most embassies are obliged to forward such appeals to the relevant officials in the country.  A letter or petition signed by an eminent member of your Centre may make it more likely for your appeal to be considered. Similarly if your appeal is published in your local press and copied to the Chinese ambassador, this too may have greater impact.

You can find the contact details of the Chinese embassy in your country here.


Elect Liu Xia as an honorary member of your Centre and by doing so provide long- term support and advocacy for her and her family. For details of the International PEN Honorary Membership scheme, read the PEN WiPC Guide to Defending Writers Under Attack  (Part V, pp 15-20). Please let us know if you do so and we will ensure that your Centre is networked with others working on the case.

Please let us know about your activities and send us a report about them by 21 April 2017 so that we can share them with other centres.

For further information please contact Emma Wadsworth-Jones at PEN International, Unit A, Koops Mill Mews, London, SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, email: [email protected]