PEN American Center Denounces Secret Trials, Imprisonment of Two Chinese Dissident Writers

Posted on December 28, 2011

PEN American Center angrily denounced the imprisonment of Chen Wei and Chen Xi, two Chinese writers who wrote digital essays critical of the Chinese government. Chen Wei was tried Friday in Suining, China, on charges of inciting subversion for criticizing the Chinese political system in four essays. Chen's trial was held in secret -- he was sentenced to nine years in prison. Chen Wei is a recipient of the Independent Chinese PEN Center's 2011 Liu Xiaobo Courage to Write award.

On Monday, December 26, freelancer writer and human rights activist Chen Xi was sentenced for inciting subversion for essays he published online outside of China. The police had raided his home and taken his computer last month. Chen Xi has been sentenced to ten years in prison and three additional years of deprivation of political rights.

In a statement, PEN American Center President Kwame Anthony Appiah said, "Once more the Chinese regime has chosen to darken the holiday season with a reminder of its fear of independent thought. We salute the extraordinary courage of those Chinese, like Chen Wei, Chen Xi, and Liu Xiaobo, who love their country enough to risk long-term incarceration for speaking out against a government that betrays the hopes of the Chinese people every day."

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