Saturday, October 30, 2010

PEN News: October 13, 2010‏


WHO WE ARE WHAT WE DO HOW TO HELP WORLD VOICES ADVOCACY PRESS
PEN Monthly News

UPCOMING EVENTS

October 19:
State of Emergency: Censorship by Bullet in Mexico


Join PEN for an evening of solidarity with Mexican journalists. >> More


November 1:
Breakout: Voices from Inside


PEN Members and special guests will read award-winning selections from the 2010 Prison Writing Contest at its Third Annual Fundraiser and Raffle. >> More

October 21:
A Global Piano and Literary Salon: The Soul of Cuba


Explore Cuban culture through music, readings, food, wine, and lively conversation. >> More

October 25:
92Y Reading: Adonis


Syrian poet Adonis reads from his newly published Selected Poems. >> More

November 4:
Boris Pahor's Necropolis: A Slovenian Story of Culture, Conflict, and Persecution


Explore Trieste's cultural diversity through the lens of Boris Pahor's memoir. >> More

November 8: New Members/ New Books Party

Celebrate new PEN Members and honor those who have published books this year. >> More

Advocacy News


Liu Xiaobo Awarded 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

Nominated by PEN American Center President Anthony Appiah, former Independent Chinese PEN Center president Liu Xiaobo, a literary critic, writer, and political activist serving an 11-year sentence in a Chinese prison, is the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. >> More
International PEN News


International PEN Congress Convenes in Tokyo

More than 250 writers from several dozen countries gathered in Tokyo for the 76th annual Congress of International PEN to discuss and act upon the many relentless, escalating threats to free expression and the essential role world literature plays in sustaining a common humanity. >> More

Leading Writers Unite for Free Expression

Delegates Draft a Resolution on the People's Republic of China

PEN American Center President Addresses PEN Congress on Behalf of Liu Xiaobo



Writers Urge U.N. to Abandon Efforts to
Prohibit Defamation of Religions


At a panel held in conjunction with the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, writers and free-expression advocates from around the world warn of the potential harm in imposing legal restrictions on expression considered offensive or defamatory to religions. >> More
New at PEN


Congratulations to the 2010 PEN Literary Awards Winners

PEN honored this year's recipients at the 2010 Literary Awards Ceremony. The winners include: Don DeLillo, Susan Choi, David Mamet, Anne Carson, and others. >> More



Banned Books Week Podcast

In honor of Banned Books Week, Perri Klass moderated a conversation between children's and young adult book authors Robie Harris, Carolyn Mackler, and Peter Parnell about their books, book banning, and self-censorship.
>> More







PEN Events

UPCOMING EVENTS

November 4:
Boris Pahor's Necropolis: A Slovenian Story of Culture, Conflict, and Persecution


Explore Trieste's cultural diversity through the lens of Boris Pahor's memoir. >> More

November 17:
PEN Writers' Roundtable: Kamy Wicoff


Join in a discussion with the founder of women's writing community SheWrites.com. >> More




Reduced tickets: $25
(2 ticket minimum per purchase)

Purchase tickets at lepoissonrouge.com.
Breakout: Voices from Inside
PEN Prison Writing Program's Third Annual Fundraiser and Raffle


When:
Monday, November 1
Where: Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., New York City
What time: 7 p.m.

With readings by Talib Kweli, Junot Diaz, Lisa Dierbeck, Wahida Clark, Barbara Parsons, Sean Dalpiaz, Wally Lamb, and more

PEN Members and special guests will read award-winning selections from the PEN Prison Writing Contest. The event also features a raffle with a variety of prizes, including tickets to live shows and subscriptions to literary magazines. >> More


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Arundhati Roy : Whither Kashmir? Freedom or Enslavement

Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice: Arundhati


Tue, Oct 26 03:15 PM

Even as the Centre mulls action against Arundhati Roy for her seditious speeches on Kashmir, writer Arundhati Roy issued a statement refuting the allegations that her speeches on Kashmir were anti-India.

"I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years," she said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world," she said.

She further said, "Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free."

Earlier, advocating the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir, author-activist Arundhati Roy Sunday contended that in 1947, British imperialism was replaced with Indian colonialism which 'continued to subjugate the people of India'.

Speaking at a seminar titled 'Whither Kashmir? Freedom or Enslavement,' Roy asked Kashmiris to ponder on the type of society they have in mind for themselves.

'Imperial colonialism is fast being replaced by corporate colonialism and Kashmiris would have to make a choice whether or not they wanted the Indian oppression to be replaced by a future corporate oppression of the local masses,' she said.

'Your struggle has increased the consciousness in India about the oppression you face, but you must decide what type of society you have in mind once you are allowed to decide your future,' she said.

Attacking the Indian government for the 'oppression of the Kashmiri people', she said India has been using Kashmiris recruited in the army and paramilitary forces to suppress the voices of dissent in the Northeast and vice versa. (Agencies)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ from Outlook ~~~~~~~~~~~~


'No Democracy Permits Right To Sedition'
'The right to secede cannot be accepted in the garb of right to free speech. The right to free speech enshrined in the Constitution cannot be used against the country'
Arun Jaitley

BJP takes strong exception to the demand for secession of Kashmir made at a Seminar in New Delhi yesterday in which hardline Hurriyan leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other Kashmiri separatists as well as Naxal and Khalistani sympathizers had come together to demand independence for Kashmir. It is shocking that the central government chose to look the other way while "unacceptable" views were aired in the name of freedom of speech.

BJP feels that what happened in Delhi yesterday when a group of separatists got together to hold a seminar to promote sedition under the nose of the government has stunned the nation. In a democracy, the right to secede cannot be accepted in the garb of right to free speech. The right to free speech enshrined in the Constitution cannot be used against the country.

It is dismaying to note that the central government did not take any preventive measures and has not taken any action to punish the guilty. The central government should not forget that there are two responsibilities and obligations of the state -- to prevent such events and to punish the offenders. On the other hand, the government exercised the option of looking the other way which is not available to it.

BJP is outraged by open anti-India sentiments and demand for sedition at the seminar and finds these as absolutely unacceptable. It seems that the centre has abdicated its duty to protect the unity and integrity of the country by allowing the function to take place in which anti-India voices were raised. The whole country was shocked when separatists met under the nose of the central government to encourage sedition in India. Reports indicate that the issue was 'India cannot be one and has to be broken up.'

Democracy and freedom of expression does not give anybody a right to demand sedition. No democracy permits right to sedition. But some misconceived representatives of civil society have advocated it as free speech. The freedom of speech and expression is a constitutional guarantee, but with certain restrictions. If anybody speaks against the sovereignty of India, such exercise comes under penal law -- offences against state. The Seminar yesterday comes under the purview of the penal law and the people associated therewith including Geelani must be prosecuted. The government cannot be a mute spectator.

Source : OutLook India

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Arundhati Roy has issued this statement from Srinagar

I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning's papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.

Yesterday I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir which had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer's husband and Asiya's brother. We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger who had lost hope that they would ever get 'insaf'—justice—from India, and now believed that Azadi—freedom— was their only hope. I met young stone pelters who had been shot through their eyes. I traveled with a young man who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as punishment for throwing stones.

In the papers some have accused me of giving 'hate-speeches', of wanting India to break up. On the contrary, what I say comes from love and pride. It comes from not wanting people to be killed, raped, imprisoned or have their finger-nails pulled out in order to force them to say they are Indians. It comes from wanting to live in a society that is striving to be a just one. Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.

Arundhati Roy
October 26 2010

Source and Credit : outlookindia

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From Pakistan The Dawn~~~~~~~

I fight for the love and pride of my people: Arundhati Roy

By Jawed Naqvi
Tuesday, 26 Oct, 2010




New Delhi: Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy who has been canvassing for freedom of Jammu and Kashmir from years of military occupation said on Tuesday that far from seeking a break up of India, as alleged by her rightwing detractors, she fights for the love and pride of the people of India.

Amid reports that the Indian government had given permission for her arrest for alleged sedition following her recent call for justice for all Kashmiris, Ms Roy, who is currently on a visit to the Valley said in a statement to the Indian media that it would be a sad day for her country if its writers were jailed for expressing their ideas while "communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters" roamed free.

Some rightwing newspapers and TV channels close to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been campaigning for her arrest after she addressed a meeting on Kashmir in New Delhi last week at which Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani reiterated his call for azadi.

Ms Roy reminded the Kashmiris at the meeting that she was hurt by their slogan - bhooka nanga Hindustan, jaan se pyara Pakistan - saying that the slogan insulted the poor masses of India. But some reports distorted this, and the headlines screamed that she had asked for secession from poverty-stricken India.

Analysts recalled that senior Indian leader Jaiprakash Narayan had once called for the Indian army to revolt against the autocratic government of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. The BJP had supported him then. Mr Narayan was subsequently celebrated as Lok Nayak, or people's leader. "There is nothing rigid about the law on sedition. It is always a political choice on who you want to target," said a senior lawyer. "Right now Arundhati Roy is in everyone's crosshairs. She has dared to take on powerful corporate interests and has even exposed their link with the powerful home minister."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Volunteering for the Colman Getty PEN Quiz


Volunteering for the Colman Getty PEN Quiz

Welcome to PEN volunteer pool.
Once again, the Colman Getty PEN Quiz is fast approaching - Monday 22nd November, and I'm going to need around 15 volunteers to help out for the whole evening. The full e-invite is below. Many of you are veterans now, but for those of you who are new, the evening is basically one big pub quiz for the media industry with 25 tables of 10 taking part. Each volunteer is assigned to a group of 2-3 tables and your job for the night is to sell as many raffle tickets to your table as physically possible and collect in the answer sheets and get them to the scorers at the end of each round. You need to be at the Royal Institute of British Architects for 6pm and able to stay until 11pm. You'll be more than welcome to stay on after that to linger at the bar. There will be no swanky RIBA dinner for us, sadly, but we will provide sandwiches and cake. It's also a great chance to see the great and the good of the literary world sniping and falling over and Foyles provide a twenty pound gift voucher for each volunteer as a thank you.

If you're available and interested in taking part then do let me know. If you let me know within the next couple of days then your name will also go in the thank you section of the programme!

Best,
Sarah

THE COLMAN GETTY PEN QUIZ 2010
Monday 22 November 2009, 6pm-midnight
RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD

English PEN and Colman Getty invite you to sharpen your wits and raise vital funds for the premier literary charity at the 2010 Colman Getty PEN Quiz. Last year, the Times Thunderers took first place after a tense tie-break to take home the much coveted trophy. The evening will take place in the beautiful art-deco setting of the Royal Institute of British Architects. David Baddiel, comedian and writer will be acting as Quizmaster and Marcus Berkmann author of Brain Men: A Passion to Compete and The Prince of Wales (Highgate) Quiz Book, will once again be acting as question setter. Teams from across the media landscape will be competing hotly for the honour of beating their rivals, whilst raising essential funds for PEN’s work promoting literature and defending freedom of expression. As Margaret Atwood said, ‘PEN is not a luxury, it is a necessity.’ The same could be said of attendance at the Colman Getty PEN Quiz.


We hope that you can join us for an evening of great fun at this now well-established highlight of the autumn calendar.

Tables of ten: £1,500.
This price includes:
· Champagne Reception;
· Entry to the Quiz;
· Three course dinner with wine;
· The chance to win some very exclusive raffle prizes…

To book your table please call Sarah Hesketh on 020 7324 2535 or email sarah@englishpen.org

What they said about PEN…

Philip Pullman: ‘PEN supports writers at that lonely point when the virtue they most need to call on is courage’

Orhan Pamuk: ‘Whatever the country, freedom of thought and expression are universal human rights. When another writer in another house is not free, no writer is free. This, indeed, is the spirit that informs the solidarity felt by PEN, by writers all over the world.’



Sarah Hesketh | Assistant Director | English PEN
t. 020 7324 2535 | d. 020 7324 2536 |
sarah@englishpen.org | www.englishpen.org
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA

English PEN online



Friday, October 15, 2010

English PEN events: October and beyond

English PEN events: October and beyond

Just a quick update on the English PEN events coming up in the next few weeks. Full details of our Writers in Public programme can also be found on the English PEN website.

Breaking the Language Barrier: Festivals in Translation

Tuesday 19 October, 1pm

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA

FREE- booking recommended

In association with the DSC South Asian Literature Festival

Literature festivals are now an integral part of our cultural fabric and festival brands are becoming increasingly international, welcoming writers from around the world and providing a vital platform for new voices to be heard.

But do English-language authors still dominate the line-up? Can festivals help to break down the hegemony of English and enable literature in other languages to travel, or do they simply support the wider promotion of those writers who speak the world's lingua franca? How can foreign-language writers come to attention on the international circuit?

Join Namita Gokhale, Founder and Co-Director of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, Susanna Nicklin, Director of Literature at the British Council, Daniel Hahn, translator and author, Vivienne Wordley, Creative Director of the Emirates Literature Festival, and Surina Narula, who spearheads the philanthropic work of the DSC group, as they debate these questions and discuss the globalisation of world literature.

How to Book: Call the Free Word Centre on 0207 3242 570 to reserve your place.

Click here for more information about the DSC South Asian Literature Festival.

PEN Pinter Prize 2010

Wednesday 20 October, 6.30pm

The Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

£7.50/£5 concessions

In association with the British Library


The PEN/Pinter prize is awarded annually to a British writer of outstanding literary merit whose work encapsulates the principles of freedom and truth that Harold Pinter upheld throughout his writing career. Join the judges of this year's prize, Lisa Appignanesi, Antonia Fraser, Mariella Frostrup, Nicolas Kent, and Ronald Harwood, as this year's winner, Hanif Kureishi deliver his very special acceptance speech. For more information about the prize please visit our website.


How to Book: Call the British Library on 01937 546546 or visit http://boxoffice.bl.uk.

Telling Tales: An Evening with Alberto Manguel

Tuesday 9 November, 6.30pm

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA

£8/£5 members

Our new patron of the English PEN Readers & Writers programme, Alberto Manguel will read from his new book - All Men Are Liars - and discuss the contradictory and the unreliable with Miranda France. Where can you find truth in a world ruled by lies? In his new fictional tribute to falsehood, Manguel pays homage to literature and its shape-shifting inventions. A rare treat to see this international star writer, this is a perfect night out for readers and writers and liars everywhere.


How to Book: Call English PEN on 0207 324 2535 or book online.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bengal Chapter of Indian PEN Congratulates Mario Vargas Llosa and Liu Xiaobo for winning Nobel Prize

Bengal Chapter of Indian PEN center (Kolkata) Congratulates two PEN MEMBERS for their winning Nobel Prize in Literature and peace.



Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa won the 2010 Nobel Prize for literature as the academy honored one of the Spanish-speaking world's most acclaimed authors and an activist who once ran for Peru's presidency and famously denounced leftist writers and dictators.
Mr. Vargas Llosa, 74, has written more than 30 novels, plays and essays, including "Conversation in the Cathedral" and "The Green House." In 1995, he won the Cervantes Prize, the most distinguished literary honor in Spanish.
He is the first South American winner of the prestigious $1.5 million Nobel literature prize since Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez won in 1982 and the first Spanish-language writer to win since Mexico's Octavio Paz in 1990.


We are absolutely delighted that Liu Xiaobo, our Chinese PEN colleague , a literary critic, writer, and political activist who is serving an 11-year sentence in a Chinese prison, is the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
We hope the Chinese authorities receive it--as recognition of the power of its citizens to guide and shape their future in a peaceful way. We ask the citizens and leaders of every nation to urge the Chinese government to honor the award's spirit by setting him and all his imprisoned colleagues free.


"PEN has always stood not only for free expression but also for cultural exchange across nations,"

Upcoming PEN Events‏ and Liu Xiaobo



Upcoming PEN Events‏



WHO WE ARE WHAT WE DO HOW TO HELP WORLD VOICES ADVOCACY PRESS
PEN Events


UPCOMING EVENTS

October 21:
A Global Piano and Literary Salon: The Soul of Cuba


Explore Cuban culture through music, readings, food, wine, and lively conversation
. >> More

October 25:
92Y Reading: Adonis


Syrian poet Adonis reads from his newly published Selected Poems. >> More

November 4:
Boris Pahor's Necropolis: A Slovenian Story of Culture, Conflict, and Persecution


Explore Trieste's cultural diversity through the lens of Boris Pahor's memoir. >> More
State of Emergency: Censorship by Bullet in Mexico

When:
Tueday, October 19
Where: The Great Hall Cooper Union, 7 E. 7th Street, New York City
What time: 7 p.m.

With Paul Auster, Jon Lee Anderson, Don DeLillo, Laura Esquivel, José Luis Martínez, Jose Zamora, Víctor Manuel Mendiola, Luis Miguel Aguilar, Carmen Aristegui, Adela Navarro Bello, and Julia Preston

Tickets: $15/$10 for PEN Members and students


Journalists and authors come together for an evening of readings and conversation to call attention to the silencing of Mexican journalists. >> More



Breakout: Voices from Inside
PEN Prison Writing Program's Third Annual Fundraiser and Raffle


When:
Monday, November 1
Where: Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., New York City
What time: 7 p.m.

With Talib Kweli, Junot Diaz, Lisa Dierbeck, Wahida Clark, Barbara Parsons, and more

Tickets: $75 for VIP seats (limited quantity); $50 for regular admission. Please be advised that there is a 2 item order minimum. Purchase tickets at lepoissonrouge.com.



PEN Members and friends read the award-winning work from PEN's Prison Writing Program at its Third Annual Fundraiser and Raffle. >> More


New Members/New BooksNew Members/New Books Party

When:
Monday, November 8
Where: Housing Works Used Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby Street, New York City
What time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Save the date for PEN American Center's 2010 New Members/New Books Party to celebrate new Members and honor those who have had new books published this year. >> More






PEN's Own Liu Xiaobo, Imprisoned Chinese Writer, Wins Nobel Peace Prize‏


WHO WE ARE WHAT WE DO HOW TO HELP WORLD VOICES ADVOCACY PRESS

PEN's Own Liu Xiaobo, Imprisoned Chinese Writer, Wins Nobel Peace Prize

PEN American Center today celebrated the news that Chinese colleague Liu Xiaobo, a literary critic, writer, and political activist who is serving an 11-year sentence in a Chinese prison, is the recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. PEN President Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, nominated Liu for the award in January of this year.

"We are absolutely delighted that Liu Xiaobo, our PEN colleague and a nominee who has the support of PEN members in many nations, has been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize," Appiah said today. "We hope the Chinese authorities receive this wise decision by the Nobel Committee as the rest of the world will receive it--as recognition of the power of its citizens to guide and shape their future in a peaceful way. We ask the citizens and leaders of every nation to join us in urging the Chinese government to honor the award's spirit by setting him and all his imprisoned colleagues free."

"PEN has always stood not only for free expression but also for cultural exchange across nations," Appiah continued. "We believe we all have a great deal to gain from hearing from China. A China with greater free expression will not only be better for the Chinese, it will allow her citizens--and her government--a louder, stronger voice in the community of nations."

Liu Xiaobo was arrested on December 8, 2008, on the eve of the release of Charter 08, a groundbreaking declaration he co-authored calling for political reform, greater human rights, and an end to one-party rule in China. The document has gained over 10,000 signatures from citizens across China. Liu was held nearly incommunicado at an undisclosed location outside Beijing for over six months before he was formally charged with "inciting subversion of state power." He was tried in a closed court on December 23, 2009, and on December 25, was convicted of the charge, based on Charter 08 and six essays he authored, and sentenced to 11 years in prison--the longest sentence ever given on this particular charge. Liu's appeal was rejected in February, and on May 24, 2010, was transferred to Jinzhou Prison in Liaoning Province, hundreds of miles from his home in Beijing. His wife, Liu Xia, is only permitted to visit him once a month.

In 1989, Liu staged a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square in support of the student demonstrators and led calls for a truly broad-based, sustainable democratic movement. He was instrumental in preventing even further bloodshed in the Square by supporting and advancing a call for non-violence on the part of the students. He spent nearly two years in prison for his role, and another three years of "reeducation through labor" in 1996 for publicly questioning the role of the single-party system and calling for dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama of Tibet. In 2004, his phone lines and Internet connection were cut after the release of his essay criticizing the use of "subversion" charges used to silence journalists and activists, and he has been the target of regular police surveillance and harassment in the years since.

Liu Xiaobo is also the recipient of the 2009 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, which honors international literary figures who have been persecuted or imprisoned for exercising or defending the right to freedom of expression.

At least 45 writers are currently in prison in China for their writings. Four of them, including Liu Xiaobo, are members of the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC), which is composed of 300 writers living inside and outside of China; Liu helped found the center and is a past president and board member. Since ICPC was formed in 2001, it has had meetings interrupted and canceled by authorities, its officers and members are regularly surveilled, and several have been detained and questioned about the center's activities. As ICPC has emerged as an important voice for freedom of expression in China, it has come under increased pressure in the last three years.

During that time, PEN American Center has led an international campaign to free writers and increase protections for freedom of expression in China, highlighted by a New Year's Eve rally for Liu Xiaobo's release following his conviction that featured leading American writers, as well as Appiah's nomination of Liu for the Nobel Peace Prize. Appiah said today that the news that Liu has received the prize will also serve to inspire PEN's work for freedom of expression worldwide.

"In a letter passed to his lawyers after his sentencing last December, Liu Xiaobo said, 'For an intellectual thirsty for freedom in a dictatorial country, prison is the very first threshold. Now I have stepped over the threshold, and freedom is near,'" Appiah recalled. "It is through the sacrifice of writers like Liu Xiaobo that freedom of expression gains ground. And it is through international solidarity, represented best by the Nobel Peace Prize, that those who make these crucial sacrifices are sustained and freed."

Addressing Liu Xiaobo directly, Appiah added, "We will not stop fighting for you, my friend, until you are released."

For Kwame Anthony Appiah's nomination letter and more information on Liu Xiaobo, please visit www.pen.org/nobel.


For more information contact:
Larry Siems, (212) 334-1660 ext. 105, (646) 359-0594 (cell)
Sarah Hoffman, (212) 334-1660 ext. 111, (201) 874-9849 (cell)





Government blocks news of Nobel Peace Prize winner

13 October 2010

Government blocks news of Nobel Peace Prize winner


Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, with his wife Liu Xia, in Beijing in 2008
Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, with his wife Liu Xia, in Beijing in 2008
www.liuxiaobo.eu
The Chinese authorities are scrambling to block broadcasts of the news that this year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the country's most famous dissident, Liu Xiaobo, report Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

News of the award is almost non-existent in China's media and has been blacked out from international news broadcasts on the BBC and CNN. Despite efforts to suppress the news, social media websites and telephone texting have spread the story widely, says CPJ.

The announcement in Oslo on 8 October stunned the Chinese government, which had repeatedly threatened the Nobel Committee and Norway if the prize were to be awarded to Liu, the country's first citizen to win the prize.

According to IFJ, the authorities issued a verbal order that no media was to publish information about the award. They have also prevented the media from talking to Liu's wife, Liu Xia, who was placed under house arrest upon her return home from visiting Liu in prison over the weekend.

"China has not learned from past experience that blacking out news coverage of international events is a denial of reality that just does not work," said CPJ. "Today's blackout has accomplished one thing only: reminding the world how far China will go to suppress the news."

Liu, whose activism dates back to the days of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, was the lead author of a document called Charter '08, calling for multi-party elections in Communist Party-led China. The petition led to his 11-year jail sentence.

Originally signed by more than 300 intellectuals and human rights activists - many of whom have been detained or are under heavy surveillance, Charter '08 now has more than 10,000 signatures, reports RSF.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Two Nobel winners of PEN

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to former President of Independent Chinese PEN Centre

PEN International today calls on the People's Republic of China to release the writer and academic Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Liu, currently serving an 11-year sentence in China, is a former president of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre and is one of the PEN Writers in Prison Committee's most prominent cases. He is one of more than 40 writers, journalists and intellectuals detained in Chinese prisons at present.

‘Awarding Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize is an affirmation of the central importance to everyone of freedom of expression, of which he is a courageous exponent,' states PEN International President, John Ralston Saul.

In December 2008, Liu was a signatory to an open letter to the Chinese authorities calling on the National People's Congress to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Liu was also instrumental in launching Charter 08 on 9 December 2008, a declaration calling for political reforms and human rights, which was initially signed by over 300 scholars, journalists, writers and activists. Charter 08 now has more than 10,000 signatories from throughout China and the Chinese community abroad.

Liu was arrested in December 2008 and detained until he was formally charged in June 2009 with ‘spreading rumours and defaming the government, aimed at subversion of the state and overthrowing the socialism system in recent years'. He was convicted and imprisoned for 11 years on 25 December 2009.

‘Charter 08 contains this phrase: We must stop the practice of viewing words as crimes,' says Marian Botsford Fraser, Chair of PEN International's Writers in Prison Committee. ‘Liu is serving 11 years for that simple credo, and his belief in democracy for the Chinese people. We fervently hope that Liu's winning of the Nobel Prize furthers those causes.'

Liu Xiaobo commands great respect among Chinese intellectuals and writers, and several leading intellectuals took a bold step in signing a letter in support of his nomination for the Nobel prize. Although he has been banned from publishing in China, his work continues to appear in Hong Kong and Chinese publications abroad.

Liu holds a doctorate in Chinese literature and taught at Beijing Normal University until prevented from doing so over his involvement in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. He was one of those intellectuals labeled the ‘Black Hands of Beijing' by the authorities after Tiananmen Square. Since then, Liu has experienced frequent arrest, harassment and censoring of his work. He also served a three-year sentence in a labour camp in the mid-1990s.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

PEN International celebrates literature and promotes freedom of expression. Founded in 1921, its global community of writers now spans more than 100 countries. PEN programmes, campaigns, events and publications connect writers and readers wherever they are in the world.

For more information or for an interview with PEN International, please contact Sara Whyatt, Writers in Prison Committee Programme Director, at +44 20 7405 0338 or sara.whyatt@internationalpen.org.uk

For more information or for an interview with the independent Chinese PEN Centre, please contact Tienchi Liao, ICPC President, at +49 176 5472 3721, or Yang Zhu, WIPC Coordinator, at +46 8 500 22792

iNTERNATIONAL pEN
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Former President of PEN International wins 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature

Mario Vargas Llosa was named as this year's Nobel literature laureate at a ceremony today in Sweden. Vargas Llosa has been an active member of PEN for many years and served as the organisation's International President from 1976 - 79.

‘Mario Vargas Llosa has consistently demonstrated his commitment to literature and the cause of free expression, both through his writing and his political work,' comments incumbent PEN International President John Ralston Saul. ‘He has been one of the determining leaders of PEN and I am delighted, as current PEN President and a friend, that he has been honoured with this award.'

Vargas Llosa has previously said that ‘In times of division between countries, PEN is one of the rare institutions to keep a bridge constantly open.'

Born in 1936 in Peru, Vargas Llosa is the author of nearly 30 works of fiction, non-fiction and drama, and several of his novels have been adapted into films. He is the first Latin American writer to win the Nobel Literature Prize since Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 1982.

The board, members and staff of PEN International congratulate Mario Vargas Llosa on this fitting acknowledgement of his lifetime contribution to literature.

PEN International celebrates literature and promotes freedom of expression. Founded in 1921, its global community of writers now spans more than 100 countries. PEN programmes, campaigns, events and publications connect writers and readers wherever they are in the world.

source : International Pen

Friday, October 8, 2010

China's Liu Xiaobo wins Nobel Peace Prize

Liu Xiaobo in Oct 28, 2008 Liu Xiaobo: Jailed for 11 years in December 2009

Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been named the winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Making the announcement in Oslo, Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland said Mr Liu was "the foremost symbol of the wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China".

Mr Liu's wife hailed the award, calling on Beijing to release her husband.

China said the award was contrary to Nobel principles and could damage relations with Norway.


Mr Jagland admitted he knew the choice would be controversial. He told local television before the announcement: "You'll understand when you hear the name."

'Curtailed freedom'

Mr Jagland, reading the citation, said China's new status in the world "must entail increased responsibility".

"China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights."

Analysis

In the weeks leading up to this announcement, Beijing was very strong on its statements. It said that Liu Xiaobo was not a suitable candidate. Beijing regards him as a criminal and said the award could damage relations between China and Norway.

Many Chinese people will see this as an attack by the West on what they stand for and certainly many nationalists will see this as an example of the West trying to demonise China.

The statement of the Nobel Peace Prize committee will not get a lot of traction with ordinary people. The authorities have very effectively given him no publicity whatsoever.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr Jagland said that, in practice, freedoms enshrined in China's constitution had "proved to be distinctly curtailed for China's citizens".

Mr Jagland said the choice of Mr Liu had become clear early in the selection process.

Mr Liu, 54, who was a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, was jailed for 11 years on Christmas Day last year for drafting Charter 08, which called for multiparty democracy and respect for human rights in China.

The Nobel Foundation citation read: "Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China's own constitution and fundamental human rights."

Ending the citation, Mr Jagland said: "The campaign to establish universal human rights in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China."


Thorbjoern Jagland with the citation

Beijing quickly condemned the award, saying it could damage China-Norway relations.

10 Years of Peace Prize Winners

  • 2010: Liu Xiaobo
  • 2009: Barack Obama
  • 2008: Martti Ahtisaari
  • 2007: Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • 2006: Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank
  • 2005: IAEA and Mohamed ElBaradei
  • 2004: Wangari Maathai
  • 2003: Shirin Ebadi
  • 2002: Jimmy Carter
  • 2001: Kofi Annan and the United Nations

Foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said: "Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who violated Chinese law. Awarding the prize to Liu runs contrary to the principle of the Nobel Peace Prize. The fact that the Nobel committee awarded the Peace Prize to such a person also lowers the Peace Prize itself."

Mr Liu's wife, Liu Xia, said she was "so excited" by the award.

She told AFP news agency: "I want to thank everyone for supporting Liu Xiaobo. I strongly ask that the Chinese government release Liu."

Mrs Liu said police had informed her they would take her to Mr Liu's prison in the north-eastern province of Liaoning on Saturday so she could give him the news.

France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner welcomed the award and called on China to free Mr Liu.

Xiaobo's wife talks to the BBC about visiting her husband

Rights group Amnesty International said Mr Liu was a "worthy winner".

But Catherine Baber, deputy Asia-Pacific director, said: "This award can only make a real difference if it prompts more international pressure on China to release Liu, along with the numerous other prisoners of conscience languishing in Chinese jails."

No candidates are announced ahead of the Peace Prize but others mentioned in the media included Afghan women's rights activist Sima Samar, Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, former German chancellor Helmut Kohl and Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Nobel committee had to defend last year's controversial Peace Prize choice of US President Barack Obama.

Liu Xiaobo: 20 years of activism

Liu Xiaobo The 54-year-old first came to public prominence in 1989, during the Tiananmen Square protests

In his time Liu Xiaobo has been a political activist, author, university professor and an annoyance to the Chinese Communist Party.

He has now been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, despite fierce opposition from the Chinese government.

Outside the country of his birth, he is known as one of China's leading dissidents, winning awards and the attention of the world's media.

But few people inside China have heard his name, and he has repeatedly faced imprisonment and surveillance from the Chinese government.

He is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for "subverting state power".

That charge came after he helped write a manifesto, called Charter 08, calling for political change in China.

Subverting state power?

The 54-year-old first came to public prominence in 1989, during the bloody suppression of protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

He returned home from the United States to take part in the demonstrations, but was sent to prison for nearly two years for the role he played.

"The massacre in 1989 made a very deep impression on me," he said in an interview he gave to the BBC just a few months before he was arrested in 2008.

The activist once worked as a professor at Beijing Normal University, although he was eventually banned from teaching.

In 1996 he was again put away for speaking out about China's one-party political system, but this time he was sent to a re-education-through-labour camp for three years.

It was while there that he got married to Liu Xia.

Since then he has continued to discuss a range of taboo subjects, including criticising China's treatment of Tibetans.

Start Quote

One day, even if he's not regarded as a hero, he'll be thought of as a very good citizen”

End Quote Liu Xia Liu Xiaobo's wife

This has brought him to the attention of those outside China who are trying to improve human rights in the communist party-ruled country, and he has received several prizes over the years.

At his trial in December last year the United States government felt compelled to speak out.

"We call on the Government of China to release [Liu Xiaobo] immediately and to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens to peacefully express their political views," read a statement from the US State Department.

The document that got him into trouble, Charter 08, was released in December two years ago. It calls for a new constitution in China, an independent judiciary and freedom of expression.

It was backed by about 300 academics, artists, lawyers and activists, who want a fuller debate about China's future political development.

Two days before it was due to be published the police made a late-night raid on Mr Liu's home and took him away.

His wife said she could not initially find out what had happened to him because the authorities would not admit to taking him.

Monthly visits

It was not until nearly one month later that the authorities finally confirmed they had arrested him.

He had a one-day trial in December last year and was sentenced to 11 years a few days later - on Christmas Day.

Some suspected the Chinese authorities had chosen that day because most people in the West would be on holiday, and not notice.

Liu Xia now visits her husband once a month at the prison where he is serving his sentence, in Liaoning Province in north-east China.

They have hour-long meetings watched over by two guards and a security camera.

She said: "Mentally and physically he's fine. He runs for an hour each day, he reads and he writes me letters."

As a wife, Liu Xia's greatest wish is for her husband to be released so he can come home to her.

She believes his contribution to human rights will one day by recognised.

"Now his name is unknown. But one day, even if he's not regarded as a hero, he'll be thought of as a very good citizen - a model example."

Text: Committee statement on the Nobel Peace Prize 2010

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the "fraternity between nations" of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.

Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal.

The country now has the world's second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty.

Scope for political participation has also broadened.

China's new status must entail increased responsibility.

China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights.

Article 35 of China's constitution lays down that "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration".

In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China's citizens.

For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China.

He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008.

The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights for "inciting subversion of state power".

Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China's own constitution and fundamental human rights.

The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad.

Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.








China's Liu Xiaobo wins Nobel Peace Prize


By John Pomfret
Friday, October 8, 2010; 6:39 AM

Liu Xiaobo, an irrepressible, chain-smoking Chinese dissident imprisoned last year for subversion, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Friday for helping to spearhead a campaign for more freedom in China.

In a statement, the Nobel Committee said Liu, 54, deserved the prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

Analysts said the honor was aimed in part at increasing pressure on China to ease its crackdown on religious and political activists. But China's government told reporters the committee had violated its own principles by giving the award to a "criminal."

In announcing the award, the committee lauded Liu's efforts over more than two decades to demand freedom of speech, assembly, religion and other forms of expression for Chinese citizens.

China's "new status" as the world's second-largest economy "must entail increased responsibility," the committee said. It said Beijing must heed the call of Liu and others to award its citizens the most basic freedoms.

"Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China," the Nobel statement said.

Liu is serving his 11-year sentence at Jinzhou prison in Liaoning, hundreds of miles from his home and wife, Liu Xia, in Beijing. In an interview shortly before the announcement, Liu Xia said she was thankful her husband's physical condition seems to have improved in jail, and grateful that he's allowed to read and that the two can exchange regular letters.

"We have no regrets," she said. "All of this has been of our choosing. It will always be so. We'll bear the consequences together. I've known Liu since 1982. I've watched him change little by little year by year, and we know that we have to pay the price under the current situation in China."

In the weeks running up to the announcement, Liu was considered a top contender to win the award. But China's government had warned Norway not to award Liu its most prestigious prize, saying that the essayist did not qualify for the honor.

Analysts predicted that in the short-term, China's one-party state would react to the award by intensifying an already tough campaign against dissidents, religious activists and non-governmental organizations. Although China outwardly appears strong, with a world-beating economic growth rate, prosecutions for "state security" offenses are approaching numbers not seen since the bloody crackdown on student-led protests around Tiananmen Square in 1989.

But in the long-term, a wide spectrum of Chinese and foreigners said, Liu's award could actually resonate more deeply within China than any similar act in years--significantly more so than the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to the Dalai Lama in 1989 or the Nobel prize for literature given to dissident writer Gao Xingjian in 2000.

First of all, Liu will be the first Chinese citizen to ever win the award. (The Dalai Lama has status as a refugee. And Gao is a French citizen.) Second, Liu, unlike most Chinese dissidents, remains well-known and well-liked in China.

Prickly, with a thick northern drawl, tobacco-stained teeth and an infectious laugh, he's always been considered part of the "loyal opposition," less a theoretician of a democratic revolution than a tough urban gadfly.

Although in and out of jail for stating his beliefs, writing letters and challenging the state for two decades, Liu has escaped the sentence of irrelevance meted out to so many of his dissident contemporaries.

Some observers, however, said the award would feed into a sense among many young Chinese that the West is out to get China and that "Cold War" thinking still dominates mindsets in the developed world.

"I worry about the effect of this prize on China's younger generation," said Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Beijing University. "It will be seen as new evidence about how the West is unfriendly to China."

Liu's latest sentence was his longest. Announced on Christmas Day 2009 - because the Chinese government believes Westerners are less likely to take notice on a holiday--Liu's sentence of 11 years was for attempting to subvert the state.

His specific crime was that he volunteered to have his name lead a list of signatories to a document called "Charter 08." Modeled after the Charter 77 movement in Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, Charter 08 called for greater freedom of expression, human rights, and for free elections.

Ultimately, more than 8,000 people have signed China' s charter.

Published on Dec. 10, 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the charter "was to put a stake in the ground and say here's an alternate vision of China," said Perry Link, the renowned China scholar who worked with the group to translate their manifesto into English. "It was definitely a long-term program."


Among the demands were for a judiciary not controlled by the Communist Party, meaningful elections and the freedoms of association, assembly, expression and religion. "The current system has become backward to the point that change cannot be avoided," the charter read. "This situation must change! Political democratic reforms cannot be delayed any longer!"

Liu played an important role as the crafters of the charter hashed out the wording, Link said. He fought to excise any mention of the banned sect Falun Gong from the document because, he argued, the charter's purpose should not be to deal with specific human rights cases.

And he helped work out a compromise over mentioning the Tiananmen Square crackdown - which was raised in the preamble but not in the actual body of the charter.

Link, who spent much of that month talking with Liu and others as the manifesto went from one draft to another, recalled that Liu wasn't a leader of the group in the beginning. "But once he saw it was going somewhere, he naturally volunteered to be out front," Link said.


Liu didn't hog publicity, Link added, "he just doesn't shrink from putting his head on the line. He was like a moth to the flame."

After he was sentenced, Liu's lawyer released a simple statement from his client: "I have long been aware that when an independent intellectual stands up to an autocratic state, step one toward freedom is often a step into prison," it said. "Now I am taking that step; and true freedom is that much nearer."

Ai Weiwei, a signatory of the Charter 08 document who designed the Bird's Nest stadium for China's Summer Olympics, said Friday's award was at least a sign that "the world is paying attention to China."

But the award "won't change much in China," Ai predicted. "More people need to wake up."

Liu has taken risks with his life throughout his career. In 1989, he left a cushy post as a visiting scholar at Columbia University to return to China to participate in demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.

On the night of June 3, 1989, he was one of four dissidents who negotiated with the People's Liberation Army to allow the last several hundred students to peacefully vacate the square. After the crackdown he spent two years in jail.

Liu was dispatched to a re-education camp in 1996 for co-writing an open letter that demanded the impeachment of then-president Jiang Zemin.

From then until his arrest in December, 2008, two days before the charter was released, Liu lived a life of constant harassment by the security services. He was repeatedly questioned because of his views or his essays, which were passed around the Internet by thousands of his readers.

Liu's wife, Liu Xia, said the toughest time for her was after Liu was arrested in 2008 but before he was indicted. He basically disappeared, she said, into the maw of China's security state.

"For those six and half months, I only saw him twice, it was weird for both of us," Liu Xia recalled. "I was taken to a hotel in a suburb of Beijing, Xiaobo was taken there too, and he told me he didn't know where he was."

But when the indictment came, "I felt very calm," she said. "I told our lawyer that Xiaobo would probably be sentenced at least 10 years. Then it came out 11, very close to what I expected."

Correspondent William Wan and researcher Liu Liu in Beijing contributed to this report. pomfretj@washpost.com

sOURCE : The washington Post