40+ Writers Join Forces to Advocate for Freedom of Expression in China

By Maryann Yin 

PENMore than 40 writers have banded together to denounce China’s policies on freedom of expression. This illustrious group, which includes Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Franzen and Neil Gaiman, have written a letter to President Xi Jinping.

The letter outlined the troubling circumstances of four Chinese writers: Ilham Tohti, Gao Yu, Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia. The PEN American Center has posted the full piece on their website.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter: “We are particularly concerned about the plight of our colleagues, many of whom face severe consequences for exercising their right to express their opinions and pursue their creativity. We have documented cases of at least 47 writers and journalists currently imprisoned in China. The average sentence for a writer is eight years in prison, and some sentences are even harsher.”