To the Editors:

As coverage of the tragic events in China slides inexorably from the front pages to the midpages of our newspapers, it is now more important than ever to make the Chinese government aware of continuing international distress about the fate of those who participated in the nascent movement for democracy and freedom of expression there. Working with several other human rights groups, PENhas been able to document the following cases of writers and intellectuals who have been arrested in the wake of the Chinese Army’s assault in Tianamen Square:

LIU Xiaobo, 34, a well-known literacy critic who has written several books and articles and is a former reporter for the Shenzhen Youth Daily. In lengthy articles in the People’s Daily Liu has been accused of being the “black hand” behind the pro-democracy movement and of engaging in “counterrevolutionary activity.” It is feared that an effort may be made to impose the death penalty in his case.

CHEN Ming Yuan, in his late 40’s, a professor at the Foreign Languages Institute in Beijing who taught Chinese to many foreigners resident there. Also a mathematician and a poet, Chen was taken to the hospital recently with high blood pressure, and was reportedly arrested there on June 9 or 10.

REN Wanding, one of the few activists from the Democracy Wall movement period (1978–79) to have taken an active role in the 1989 demonstrations, wrote an article last year for the New York Times calling on activist students to speak out for those in prison and calling on the business community to condition their investments in China on an end to the suppression of dissidents.

YANG Hong, 36, a reporter for the China Youth Paper in Kunming, arrested for distributing leaflets.

WU Haizhen, 34, a lecturer in the foreign language department at Yunnan Educational Institute, arrested on charges stemming from speeches he made at the institute.

BAO Zunxin, a magazine editor and leading intellectual.

SU Xiaokang, a teacher at the Beijing Broadcasting Institute and WANG Luxiang, scriptwriters of the acclaimed television series, the “River Elegy.”

ZHANG Wei Guo and XU Xiao Wei, both journalists with the Shanghai-based World Economic Herald. The newspaper Wen Wei Po reported that Xu was accused of having worked with the Shanghai Autonomous Students Federation.

WANG Peigong, 45, playwright. Wang wrote a play called “WM” about the Cultural Revolution and had publicly renounced his membership in the Communist Party to show support for the democracy movement.

WANG Ruowang, a Shanghai-based writer who was expelled from the Communist Party in January 1987 during an “anti-bourgeois liberalization” campaign.

GAO Yu, a woman journalist at the People’s Daily, who is reported to be missing and according to Amnesty International may have been arrested.

We urge all concerned people to write, as PEN American Center has, to the following Chinese officials on behalf of these imprisoned writers:

Prime Minister Li Peng
People’s Republic of China
Ambassador Zhu Qizhen
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

Larry McMurtry
Karen Kennerly
Executive Director
PEN American Center, New York City

This Issue

August 17, 1989