PEN SA Calls on Chinese Authorities to Release Gui Minhai
15 Nov 2016
This is one of the cases highlighted by PEN on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2016. Read about the other cases here.
In October 2015, publisher Gui Minhai disappeared from his holiday home in Thailand. Three months later he appeared in a televised ‘confession’ on state-controlled TV claiming that he had voluntarily surrendered himself to the Chinese authorities over his supposed involvement in a fatal hit-and-run incident in December 2003. Since then, his whereabouts have been unknown; he has reportedly not had access to legal counsel and has been allowed no contact with his daughter who lives in the UK. Read more about the case and find out what you can do to help on PEN International’s website.
PEN South Africa will be sending the following letter to President Xi Jinping, calling for Minhai’s release:
We are writing to you as PEN South Africa’s Executive Board to express our concern about the detention of publisher Gui Minhai, who disappeared from his holiday home in Thailand in October 2015. He then appeared on state-controlled TV in the People’s Republic of China three months later claiming that he had voluntarily surrendered himself to the Chinese authorities over his supposed involvement in a fatal hit-and-run incident which took place in December 2003.
Since then his whereabouts have been unknown, he has reportedly not had access to legal counsel and has been allowed no contact with his daughter who lives in the UK. It is suspected that his detention is connected to the distribution of banned books to mainland China. Given the lack of clarity over his current whereabouts and legal situation, PEN considers Minhai to be held in circumstances amounting to enforced disappearance, prohibited under customary international law, and to be detained in violation of Articles 9 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which China is a signatory. PEN International has issued a comprehensive statement outlining the details of Minhai’s detention, which is appended below this letter.
We call on you to release Minhai immediately and unconditionally as he is being held for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression. We are gravely concerned for the safety of writers, academics, lawyers and activists in your country who are also at risk of attack and imprisonment solely for the peaceful expression of their opinions and urge you to end this practice of enforced disappearances.
We urge you also to end the use of forced ‘confessions’, which contravene an individual’s right to fair trial, enshrined in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil, Cultural and Political Rights and to respect the ‘one country, two systems’ principle in operation in Hong Kong.
As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for freedom of legitimate expression – the right not to be arbitrarily detained and the right to a fair trial – China is obliged to ‘refrain from acts that would defeat or undermine the treaty’s objective and purpose’.
Lastly, we ask that the the ICCPR and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances is ratified without delay.
PEN South Africa
PEN South Africa
PEN South Africa