Tuesday, December 15, 2009

China: Internet writers sentenced

China: Internet writers sentenced

Published: December 14, 2009

English PEN protests the fifteen and five year prison sentences handed down to Tibetan internet writers Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang and Kunga Tseyang in mid November 2009. English PEN considers their convictions to be a direct violation of their right to freedom of expression and opinion, under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which China is a signatory. We are therefore calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, aged 39, is an Internet writer and the founder and editor of the Tibetan language website Chomei http://www.tibetcm.com, which promotes Tibetan culture and literature. He also works as an environmental officer for the Chinese government. On 12 November 2009 he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for 'disclosing state secrets'. Gopey Tsang was arrested by Chinese security officials at his home in the town of Nyul-ra, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP), Gansu Province, on 26 February 2009. His family was not told of his whereabouts until he was summoned to court on 12 November 2009 to hear the verdict. The trial was held at the Intermediate People's Court of Kanlho, in a closed-door hearing.

Kunga Tseyang is a monk and an Internet writer from Labrang monastery, Gansu Province. He is also an environmentalist and photographer. Tseyang was sentenced to five years in prison on 17 November 2009 by a court in the Prefecture of Golok, Qinghai Province, on various charges including posting articles online. He has written extensively about Buddhism and Tibetan art and culture, including a piece entitled 'China must apologise to His Holiness the Dalai Lama' which is said to have been accessed by a large number of readers. Tseyang was twenty years old when arrested on 17 March 2009.

Background:


In March 2008 the Chinese authorities launched a crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region, after anti-government protests took place in Lhasa and other areas, with reports of arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force against dissidents. Tight restrictions remain in force on reporting from the Tibetan region, and were stepped up in March this year around the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

Useful links:


WiPC's previous alert on Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang

International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)

BBC's country profile of Tibet


Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD)

Please send appeals:


- Protesting the prison sentences imposed on Tibetan Internet writers Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang and Kunga Tseyang;
- Calling for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Appeals to:


His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Party Committee
Zhang Qingli
Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui
Lhasashi, Xizang Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China

Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. We therefore recommend that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments:

Her Excellency Fu Ying
49-51 Portland Place
London
W1B 1JL

Azerbaijan: Internet writers sentenced

Azerbaijan: Internet writers sentenced

Published: December 14, 2009

English PEN protests the prison sentences handed down to Internet writers and youth activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade. We fear their convictions are linked to the critical material about the Azeri government they posted on the Internet, and are calling for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Azerbaijan is a state party.

Emin Milli, aged 30, is the co-founder of the online Alumni Network organisation and the editor of the internet television site, ANOT. Adnan Hajizade, aged 26, is the co-founder of the youth movement OL (To Be). On 8 July 2009 Milli and Hajizade were arrested by the police in a restaurant in Baku following a scuffle outside between the two men and others. Milli and Hajizade claim that the incident was deliberately set up to provoke the fight, and that while they were victims of an assault, they are the ones to be prosecuted fro "hooliganism" while their attackers were set free.

On 11 November 2009 a judge with the Sabail District Court in Baku handed down a two-year and two and a half-year prison sentence to Milli and Hajizade respectively, on charges of 'hooliganism' and 'inflicting minor bodily harm'. It is widely believed that these are fabricated charges, and that the reasons for both Internet writers' convictions are their postings on the Internet on government corruption, education and freedom of expression.

Milli and Hajizade's most popular piece is a video that has been widely distributed on the internet in which a person dressed as a donkey holds a news conference and speaks about the good life in Azerbaijan, satirising the Azeri government's decision to pay very high prices to import donkeys. The video had been released just days before their arrest. To see the video in Youtube (in Azeri language with English subtitles) click here.

Milli and Hajizade's defence lawyers have announced they will appeal their sentence. The case has raised international condemnation.

For more details read: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Please send appeals:


• Protesting the prison sentences handed down to Internet writers and youth activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade;
• Calling for their immediate and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Azerbaijan is a state party;
• Calling on the Azeri authorities to take urgent measures to ensure the safety of journalists and freedom of expression.


Appeals to:

President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066
Azerbaijan
Fax: 994 12 492 0625

Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7, 370005 Baku
Azerbaijan
Fax: 994 12 492 45 90

We recommend that you send a copy of our appeal to the Azerbaijani Embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments:

His Excellency Fakhraddin Gurbanov
Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan
4, Kensington Court
London W8 5DL

CHINA: Prominent dissident writer likely to be prosecuted soon.

CHINA: Prominent dissident writer likely to be prosecuted soon.


9 December 2009


One year after the arrest of prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, former President and Board member of Independent Chinese PEN Centre, his case has been transferred to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate with a recommendation to prosecute. Liu is now expected to be tried on charges of ‘incitement to subversion' for his role in publishing Charter 08 and articles published online since 2005. Liu Xiaobo was arrested on 8 December 2008 for his role in publishing Charter 08, a document calling for political reform and human rights. International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) is dismayed by the recommendation, and continues to demand the immediate and unconditional release of dissident writer Liu Xiaobo and all those detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

According to the WiPC's information, on 8 December 2009 Liu Xiaobo's lawyer received a notice from the authorities that his client's case had been transferred to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate with a recommendation to initiate a prosecution. This marks the end of the investigation period, which began with Liu's formal arrest on 23 June 2009 on charges of ‘incitement to subversion of state power'. The prosecutor now has one month to decide whether to accept the police recommendation. Liu Xiaobo was arrested on 8 December 2009 and held under ‘residential surveillance', a form of pre-trial detention, at an undisclosed location in Beijing until he was formally charged on 23 June 2009. According to the official Xinhua news agency, he is accused of ‘spreading rumours and defaming the government, aimed at subversion of the state and overthrowing the socialism system in recent years'. The charge carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

Liu Xiaobo is among a large number of dissidents to have been detained or harassed since December 2008 after issuing an open letter calling on the National People's Congress Standing Committee to ratify the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and launching Charter 08, a declaration calling for political reforms and human rights published on 9 December 2008. These activities were part of campaigns to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December), and were initially signed by over 300 scholars, journalists, freelance writers and activists and now have over 10,000 signatories from throughout China.

Background
Liu Xiaobo first received support from International PEN in 1989, when he was one of a group of writers and intellectuals given the label the "Black Hands of Beijing" by the government and arrested for their part in the Tiananmen Square protests. Prior to his current arrest, Liu has spent a total of five years in prison, including a three year sentence passed in 1996, and has suffered frequent short arrests, harassment and censorship. In January 2009 over 300 writers signed a petition calling for his release.

For more information follow these links:
"An Open Letter to Calling on the National People's Congress Standing Committee to Ratify the ICCPR", 10 December, 2008 (in Chinese),
http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class4/200812/20081209030825_12257.html

Charter 08, 10 December, 2008 (in Chinese):
http://crd-net.org/Article/Class71/200812/20081209130050_12266.html

The English version can be found on:
http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/3552/prmID/1610

For writings and an interview with Liu Xiaobo see American PEN's website:
http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/3029/prmID/172
http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/3550/prmID/172


Please send appeals:

Expressing dismay about the charge of ‘incitement to subversion' brought against prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo solely for his peaceful dissident activities;
Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory.

Send appeals to:

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Mr. Meng Jianzhu
Minister of the Public Security
East Chang'an Avenue 14
100741 Beijing
P.R. China

Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. WiPC recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for China in your country if possible.

**Please contact the PEN WiPC office in London if sending appeals after 24 January 2009**

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: cathy.mccann@internationalpen.org.uk

Saturday, December 5, 2009

News: Canada

For detail go to http://www.pencanada.ca/

Tuesday, December 8
7:30 PM

Ticket information

News: Melbourne PEN







Dear Asia and Pacific PEN Centres,

I write to invite your participation and contribution to a project that i have been developing for presentation in February 2010 – the tongue-atorium, a research laboratory dedicated to all things tongue. I spoke with many of you about this project when we were in Tokyo.

The tongue-atorium is gathering anything to do with tongue, in any language – poems, recipes, quotes, images, sounds, stories, facts – scientific, linguistic etc. I’m also looking for tongue twisters in other languages and poems about the place of tongue, written in mother tongue. .. or simply poems that mention tongue. I want people to be able to taste other languages, as well as flavours.

“ Tongue” in English has extensive metaphoric resonance – tongue as language, common tongue, mother tongue etc. I am keen to find out how the word ‘tongue’ operates in other languages. If, and what are the metaphors?

I am also very keen to explore the ‘cutting out of tongue’ as a symbol for silencing, censorship. Since 2010 is the 50th anniversary of International PEN’s Writer in Prison Program, I will dedicate one aspect of the tongue-atorium to honouring writers who have been imprisoned and their writing. My aim is to name at least 50 writers, from every continent, male and female. I wonder if yourself and /or your PEN Centre would be interested in providing the name, short bio, and perhaps an excerpt of their work, of a writer or writers who have been imprisoned for their writing.

Melbourne PEN will be holding a number of events over 2010 to honour writers who have been imprisoned.We will use the names and bios that you provide, to create a poster, or display that will honour these writers for the year. I believe that we could also create an honour role on the Asia and pacific Writers Network website. So I would appreciate if you could help us with this.

I am inviting contributions to this research using a ‘word of mouth’ methodology, so would appreciate if you would pass on the invitation to anyone you feel may be interested. All contributors will be acknowledged as artist/writers and co-researchers.

The tongue-atorium will be constructed over January, so i will require all contributions as early in January as possible. It would also be very helpful if you could let me know as soon as possible what form/s your contribution might take.

I am aiming to gather some of this research and create a Special Edition for the Asia and Pacific Writers Network website.

I have attached 2 other documents – an invitation, which provides more detail about the project; and Questions of the tongue, a short survey which you may care to answer and return.

I am also inviting PEN Centres from the Asia and Pacific Region to put together an Edition of work for the Asia aand Pacific Writers Network website for 2010 or 2011. Also a reminder that a&pwn is always interested to receive your news and to publish it.

I look forward to hearing from you

warm regards

berni m janssen

Melbourne PEN Centre

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oo-






questions of tongue….

1. Have you ever eaten tongue?

If yes, when, what did it taste like, who cooked it and how was it cooked and served? Who did you eat it with?

If no, would you? And if not, why not?

2. Have you ever cooked tongue? If so, how?

3. Do you know (m)any recipes for cooking tongue? If you do, could you provide the recipe/s.

4. Do you know people who cook tongue? If yes, who, how, when… An example – did your mother or father cook tongue? How was it prepared?

5. How is tongue, as a food perceived as a food amongst people you know?

6. Has tongue as a food shifted in perception in your culture over time, place?

7. What is the word for tongue in your language?

8. In English tongue can be used as another word for language? Is this the same in your first language, or other languages you speak?

9. In English, tongue is used often metaphorically eg loose tongues, cat got your tongue, mother tongue, forked tongue. Does tongue have metaphoric resonances in your language. If, yes, what are some examples.

10. Do these metaphors contribute to, inform, a cultural sensibility?

11. In English, tongue has a promiscuous ambiguity. Does this occur in your language? If yes, examples?

12. Does tongue have other ambiguities?

13. Do you know stories that are about tongue or include tongues? Mythical, historical, personal or otherwise?

14. Do you know any tongue twisters in languages other than English. What is the word for tongue twister in this language? If so, could you provide, an audio and a written version?

15. When you speak a foreign language, the sounds are unfamiliar on the tongue. How does this make you feel? Do different sounds make you feel differently?

16. Do you know of languages that use more tongue than others? Examples?

17. When you are concentrating do you ever hold your tongue in a particular way?

18. In English, the metaphor for silencing, or censorship can be cutting out one’s tongue. Does this work in your language as well. If yes, we would like to give ‘ tongue’ or voice to stories that have been ‘silenced’. If they are able to be shared, could you provide a story. An example might be of a writer who has been imprisoned for their beliefs….




An invitation… to participate in and contribute to a research project…

the tongue-atorium




Tongue-atorium: A laboratory dedicated to the research of all things tongue.

All resonances, metaphors and ambiguities intended.

(m)other tongue

taste the wor(l)d

The Tongue-atorium is a laboratory dedicated to researching the tongue as:

1. a physical entity

  • a sounding instrument
  • a tasting instrument
  • a site of exchange
  • a sensory probe
  • a visual signal eg poking out tongue
  • a food

2. A metaphor

In the English language, tongue resonates metaphorically:

  • language
  • mother tongue
  • common tongue
  • forked tongue
  • silver tongue
  • slip of the tongue
  • tongue in cheek
  • hold your tongue
  • tongue-tied
  • cat got your tongue
  • bite your tongue
  • wagging tongues
  • loose tongues
  • tongue lashing
  • tongue and groove
  • speaking in tongues
  • tongues of fire
  • tongue of land

3. Cutting out the tongue – silencing – historical and current censorship. Freedom of Speech.

What

The tongue-atorium houses the research collection – images, sounds, objects, texts, printed and digital material and is also a space dedicated to the ongoing investigation of tongue. All things tongue co-exist there: grotesque; sensuous; erotic; culinary; scientific; aesthetic; barbaric; poetic; kitsch and etc An environment extravagant in its obsession. What one finds poisonous another devours in delight…

  • (m)other tongue symposia will be conducted by Experts of the Tongue who will loosen tongues to shake out the subtle flavours and textures of their knowledge. Secrets of the tongue will be shared. Tongue twisting and other tongue exercises, for the tongue tied, practiced. Poems in (m)other languages learnt, tongue cooked and consumed, and tongue tales - stories, recipes, facts and fictions shared. Experts of the Tongue include: chefs; cooks; poets; translators; linguists; Chinese medical practitioners; cultural commentators; scientists; tasters; and ….
  • open sessions designated times where the tongue-atorium is open to the public and Experts of the Tongue are present and in conversation.

When

Tongue-atorium will be presented as part of the In Habit season, February 12– February 28 2010.

Saturday 20 February

11 am – 4pm: tongue-atorium research laboratory open for research and contributions.

4pm – 7pm (m)other tongue symposia. Bookings essential

Sunday 21 February

11- 2: (m)other tongue symposia. Bookings essential.

2 – 6pm: tongue-atorium research laboratory open for research and contributions.

Saturday 27 February

11 am – 4pm: tongue-atorium research laboratory open for research and contributions.

4pm – 7pm: (m)other tongue symposia. Bookings essential

Sunday 28 February

11- 2: (m)other tongue symposia. Bookings essential.

2 – 6pm: tongue-aroium research laboratory open for research and contributions.

Experts of the tongue will contribute to the research whilst the research laboratory is open. Details published closer to the event.

All visitors to the tongue-atorium and (m)other tongue symposia are invited to contribute to the research. Bring a story, image, sound, poem to be added to the collection.

Where

The Scullery, Abbotsford Convent.

Research contributions.

Are you an Expert of the Tongue? Cook, chef, linguist, poet, translator, academic etc Would you be able to participate in: an Expert of the Tongue gathering ( Enoteca. 229 Gertrude St Fitzroy.)

– to cook and converse; and at least one (m)other tongue symposia ( the Symposia will be for three hours – so for around four hours, in February 2010) and perhaps an Open session conversation (over an hour). You may also need to do some preparation.

Are you interested in contributing to the research collection, of ‘all things tongue’. What that might be: image, object (from kitsch statuettes of frogs with extended tongues to Vacola jars with pickled tongues), tongue chart, tongue tie, poem, story, myth, recipe, tongue twisters (in any language) sound works, recordings, the word for tongue in any language, facts: scientific, anatomical, linguistic, culinary, odd tales. From the grotesque to the erotic, all contributions accepted. The contribution can be as small as a quote, a suggestion, a tongue-sound, a recipe or it could be a larger work. The contribution can be in a variety of media: print; audio file; video; digital, object.

I am also seeking contemporary stories to do with censorship and freedom of expression from across the world.

I am using ‘word of mouth’ as my collection methodology. So, if you know people who might be interested in contributing, let them know, and ask them to contact me.

Acknowledgements

All contributors will be acknowledged as co-researchers in full programs, publications and documentation created for the project.

Exchange

This is a project that is researching cultural exchange. What is the exchange when you have been invited to contribute research, and as an arts project on limited budget, I cannot afford to pay you? What would you want in exchange? What could the exchange be?

Perhaps for Experts of the Tongue in the symposia, there is an opportunity to exchange knowledge, participate in an event that is out of their usual domain, and have fun. For some this might be sufficient. For others, what would you want in Exchange?

For people who contribute to the research collection, what is the exchange? Besides being ‘an exhibition’ of your work, or an opportunity for playful art-making or to participate. I intend to create some mementos – perhaps a small Book of Tongue (with some images and texts and sounds); some Tongue Cards (image one side and a text on the other); a tongue stamp …. and these would be given to contributors, as a mark of appreciation.

I am interested to hear people’s thoughts and suggestions, about the whole concept of ‘exchange’. This will also contribute to the research.

Time Frame

  • If you are interested in contributing, contact me with your ideas, as soon as possible.
  • Experts of the Tongue I need to have identified as soon as possible.
  • An Experts of the Tongue gathering will be held in January.
  • The Deadline for all contributions is negotiable to a degree, but from mid December 2009, preferable. (This is to enable the conceptualization and assemblage, of the tongue-atorium and other paraphernalia over January 2010)
  • February 12 – 17, 2010 (installation)
  • February 18 – 28, 2010. Presenting tongue-atorium.

Contact:

berni m janssen – bernimjanssen@gmail.com

ph: (03) 5343 6238

(image from Damon Kowarsky – Mask 1.)