15 October 2009
The Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC) is outraged to learn that ICPC member Shanghai writer Li Jianhong was blocked from entering China in Shenzhen at around 11am this morning (October 15, 2009) and was sent back to the Hong Kong immigration after searching her luggages for about four hours.
Li said the Shenzhen police didn't interrogate her but confiscated eight books, including one on the Charter 08. After she was taken back to the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint in Hong Kong at around 4pm, Li was questioned by the Hong Kong immigration and waited at the checkpoint until she was allowed to go at around 10pm.
Earlier this year, Li, who was serving as the "resident writer" of Stockholm city in Sweden, applied to extend her Chinese passport, which is going to expire in late October. But the Chinese Embassy in Sweden rejected her application. In order to return to China with a valid passport, she had to finish her "resident writer" programme earlier and went to Hong Kong on October 10, 2009, and planned to return to China later. Patrick Kar-wai Poon, vice-president of the ICPC, received Li's phone call at 10:55am today, saying that she was blocked at the checkpoint and then the telephone line was immediately cut off. Li was only able to call us at around 4pm.
Li is currently the ICPC's documentation secretary and members of the ICPC's Writers-in-Prison Committee and the Network Working Committee and was a member of the ICPC's Women Writers Committee. She was the recipient of the Lin Zhao Memorial Prize in 2007. She was one of the three persecuted women writers lauded by the International PEN's Writers-in-Prison Committee and Women Writers' Committee during the International Women's Day in 2008. She was appointed the secretary-general of the ICPC's 4th Members' Congress in 2009.
The freedom of expression in China is deteriorating and our honorary president Liu Xiaobo and four other members are still being detained because of their writings and speeches. The ICPC is concerned that Li was blocked from returning to China probably because of her criticism against the government.
The Independent Chinese PEN is one of the 145 member centres of the International PEN, the oldest human rights organisation and international literary organisation. It aims to protect Chinese writers' freedom of speech and writing around the world and advocates for the rights of Chinese writers and journalists who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted or harassed. For more information about the ICPC's work on protecting writers' freedom of speech, please see: http://www.chinesepen.org
Li Jianhong (pen name: Xiaoqiao), native of Pengpu, Anhui province, received a master's degree in Western Europe and North America studies from the East China Normal University in Shanghai in 1994. She has been a high school teacher, management staff of foreign-invested companies, business reporter and securities analyst. She co-founded an independent Chinese website "Enlightenment Forum" with friends in 2002. In 2004, the management staff and webmaster of the website was later under investigation and the website shut down during the 15th anniversary of the June 4 Massacre. She has been persecuted by the Shanghai authorites since then. She was under police surveillance, harassments, summons, restrictions of her freedom of speech, actions and movement. She had been under house arrest and short detention for many times. She was deprived her right to work and was forced to become an independent freelancer. With the ICPC and the International PEN's recommendation and the coordination of the Norway-based International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), Stockholm city government in Sweden invited her to be the city's "resident writer" for 2008, originally for one year and it was later extended for six months. After several months of negotiation with the Shangai police, Li was escorted by the national security police of the Pudong District in Shanghai to the airport and left for Stockholm on April 28, 2008. After Li arrived in Sweden, she was received by the staff of the cultural department of Stockholm city government. An anthology of her writings "Seawind" was published in Hong Kong in the same year.