Forced exile for Chinese journalist Li Jianhong

Monday, March 7, 2011

His Excellency Zhang Junsai
The Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Canada
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
515 St. Patrick Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 5H3

March 7, 2011

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is concerned about Chinese journalist and writer Li Jianhong, who has been barred from returning to China since October 2009.

Li, who was born in Pengpu in the Anhui province of China and lived in Shanghai with her family until April 2008, was refused entry to mainland China when she returned home from spending over a year in Stockholm, Sweden, as a Guest Writer with the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) program. When she returned to Sweden and applied to renew her passport with the Chinese embassy, officials refused and stated that they were simply following orders. They remain unresponsive in spite of her persistent attempts to protest against her forced exile.

Her difficulties with the Chinese authorities are presumably a result of her critical articles, her involvement with the Independent Chinese PEN Centre and her support for the Charter ’08 petition calling for democratic reforms. She has been harassed and detained by government authorities before, and it is believed that the refusal to grant her a new passport is the latest in a series of acts of repression against her.

CJFE urges the Chinese government to reconsider these measures against her, to allow her to return home as a Chinese citizen, and to uphold the rights of its citizens, including the right to freedom of expression.

Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President

Cc: Mr. David Mulroney, Canadian Ambassador to China;
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs