Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) is a nongovernmental, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization beyond borders based on free association of those who write, edit, translate, research and publish literature work in Chinese and dedicated to freedom of expression for the workers in Chinese language and literature, including writers, journalists, translators, scholars and publishers over the world. ICPC is a member organization of International PEN, the global association of writers dedicated to freedom of expression and the defence of writers suffering governmental repression. Through the worldwide PEN network and its own membership base in China and abroad, ICPC is able to mobilize international attention to the plight of writers and editors within China attempting to write and publish with a spirit of independence and integrity, regardless of their political views, ideological standpoint or religious beliefs.
ICPC was founded in 2001 by a group of Chinese writers in exile and in China, including its founding President LIU Binyan, a prominent author, journalist and activist who passed away in exile in USA on Dec. 5 2005, Vice-president and author ZHENG Yi, Excusive Director and poet BEI Ling and Freedom to Write Committee Coordinator and poet MENG Lang, all of whom have been in exile in USA. In November of same year, ICPC was approved as a chapter of the International PEN at its annual congress in London. Since then, ICPC has made vigorous efforts to promote and defend the freedom of writing and publication and the free flow of information in China, and been deeply concerned about the state of civil society and open discourse there.
In October 2003, ICPC successfully held its first Internet Congress of the Membership Assembly to have approved its Charter, and elected a Board of Directors- 7 regular and 2 alternate members, including the President Dr. LIU Xiaobo (China) and 2 Vice-presidents CAI Chu (USA) and CHEN Maiping (Sweden). A secretariat was established with CHEN Maiping as its Secretary-general to improve its organization structure, administrative performance and program coordination. In April 2004, ICPC is incorporated in the state of New York and has secured its 501(c) tax-exempt status.
In October 2005, ICPC held its Second Internet Congress of the Membership Assembly to have amended its Charters, and elected a Board of Directors- 9 regular and 2 alternate members, including the President Dr. LIU Xiaobo (China) and 2 Vice-presidents YU Jie (China) and Dr. CHEN Kuide (USA). The founding president LIU Binyan was elected Honorary President.
In October and November, 2007, ICPC held its Third Internet Congress of the Membership Assembly to have approved its Rules of Order for the Membership Assembly, elected 5 Board members and 2 alternates to fill it vacancies, including the President ZHENG Yi (USA) and 2 Vice-presidents JIANG Qisheng (China) and Emily WU (USA).
In September and October, 2009, ICPC held its Third Internet Congress of the Membership Assembly to have elected 5 Board members and 2 alternates to fill it vacancies, including the President Tienchi MARTIN-LIAO (USA) and 2 Vice-presidents Patrick POON (Hong Kong) and QI Jiazhen (Australia). The past president Dr. LIU Xiaobo, who has been imprisoned since December 8, 2008, was elected Honorary President.
According to the ICPC Charter (Appendix A), the Membership Assembly is ICPC’s supreme organ to which all of its authorities are attributed. The Membership Assembly held its session every second year. During the closing period of the Assembly, the Board of Directors shall be ICPC’s decision-making organ. The President convenes and chairs the Board meetings, and leads the Secretariat and other excusive organs, working committees and teams. The Secretary-general is in charge of the duties of the Secretariat and coordinates the works of other excusive organs.
The current Board of Directors consists of nine regular members and two alternates and listed with the Secretariat and other appointed staff below.
The Elected Officers
1. President (Oct. 2009-Oct. 2011): Mrs. Tienchi Martin-Liao (USA)
2. First Vice-president (Oct. 2009-Oct. 2011): Patrick Kar-wai Poon (Hong Kong)
3. Second Vice-president (Oct. 2009-Oct. 2011): Ms. Jiazhen Qi (Australia)
4. Board members newly elected (Oct. 2009-Oct. 2013): Sha Yexin (Shanghai), Qi Jiazhen (Australia), Ma Jian (UK), Patrick Poon (Hong Kong), Zan Aizong (Zhejiang)
5. Board members to continue (Nov. 2007-Oct. 2011): Zheng Yi (USA), Tienchi Martin-Liao (USA), Zhao Shiying (Shenzhen), Jiang Qisheng (Beijing)
6. Alternates (Oct. 2009-Oct. 2011): Zhang Boshu (Beijing), Zhao Hui (Beijing)
Teams under the Board
1. Team for Regulations
Coordinator: Patrick Kar-wai Poon
Members: Zhao Hui, Zhang Yu, Li Jinjin, Teng Biao
2. Team for Fundraising
Coordinator: Jiazhen Qi
Members: Tienchi Martin-Liao, Emily Wu, Patrick Poon, Zhang Yu
3. Team for Finance Supervision
Coordinator: Zan Aizong
Members: Cai Chu, Li Jianhua, Teng Biao
1. The Secretariat
Secretary-general: Zhao Shiying (Shenzhen, China);
Deputy Secretary-general: Jiang Bo (Shanghai, China);
Executive Secretary (in charge of organizational, international, press and archive matters): Zhang Yu (Sweden);
Financial Secretary and Accountant: Emily Wu (USA);
Secretary for Members’ Rights and Interests: Xuan Sulai (Germany);
Treasurer in China: Wu Wei (Guangzhou, China);
Documentation Secretary: Li Jianhong (Sweden)
Cashier: Simon SI (USA);
Legal Consultant: Li Jinjin (USA)
2. Writers in Prison Committee
Coordinator: Zhang Yu, Sweden
Assistant Coordinator: Wang Yiliang, USA;
Members: Jiang Qisheng, Beijing, China;
Zhao Shiying, Shenzhen, China;
Lu Sairong, USA;
Zhang Xiaogang, Australia;
Sheng Xue, Canada;
Wu Yisan, Hong Kong;
Ding Qiang, New Zealand;
Sun Yue, Russia;
Li Jianhong, Sweden;
Li Jianglin, USA;
Ai Ge, French;
Wang Jinzhong, Japan;
Consultants: Wing Mui Tsoi, Hong Kong,
Song Yongyi, USA;
Hu Ping, USA;
Sun Liyong, Australia;
Wang Jianbo, Shanghai, China;
Teng Biao, Beijing, China.
3. Freedom to Write Committee
Coordinator: Meng Lang, Hong Kong/USA
Members: Sha Yexin, Shanghai, China;
Ma Jian, UK;
Yang Lian, UK;
Zan Aizong, Zhejiang, China;
Zhang Boshu, Beijing, China;
Jiang Bo, Shanghai, China;
Wang Yiliang, editor of ICPC Magazine, USA.
4. Internet Working Committee
Coordinator: Wu Wei, Guangzhou, China
Members: Zhao Shiying, Shenzhen, China;
Zhang Xiaogang, Australia;
Li Jianhong, Sweden.
5. Literature Exchange and Translation Committee (under preparation)
Coordinator: Chen Biao, Australia (English)
Members: Zheng Yi, USA;
Ma Jian, UK;
Yang Lian, UK (English);
Zhou Qing, Germany;
Ai Ge, France;
Li Li, Sweden (Swedish and English);
Silvia Sian, Germany (German and English);
Sun Yue, Russia (Russian);
Wang Jinzhong, Japan (Japanesse).
ICPC carries out its missions to promote and defend the fundamental freedoms of expression in Chinese language and literature throughout the world, particularly concerned with the situation and development in China mainland. ICPC’s long-term objectives are to develop itself to be an influential NGO with its main membership in China, to perform directly its main missions there, to defend its liberties and rights there and finance its future projects there, as most of other PEN centers in the world have been doing.
Freedom to Write Programs
A key mission of ICPC is to enable writers and other intellectuals to freely voice their ideas and analyses of social and political issues, and so to promote freedom of writing and publication in China. In 2002, ICPC set up its Freedom to Write Committee (FTWC) to be responsible for a Freedom to Write Award to honour the writers who have made important contributions to freedom of expression and literary writing in Chinese language. The purpose of the award is to promote the spirit of freedom among Chinese writers. The first award was given in Boston in June 2002 and the sequent two in Beijing in October 2004 and December 2005. It will be awarded every year. Moreover, FTWC have implemented more programs, such as, organizing seminars, conferences and workshops, publishing the literature anthology and Internet magazine, and coordinating writing and travel grants to member writers.
Writers in Prison Programs
To fulfil its mission in defending imprisoned Chinese writers, ICPC set up a Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) in 2003, corresponding to the worldwide network of International PEN’s WiPC headquarter. WiPC documents the cases of imprisoned Chinese writers, reports their cases to the WiPC headquarter, writes petition letters to the relevant authorities, provides information about these imprisoned writers to other international organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and others, solicits donations for imprisoned writers for their legal defences and family supports and collects their banded works for publications.
Internet Work Programs
The establishment of an Internet Working Committee (IWC) by the Board since November 2005 is due to the current and long-term needs, not only for the continuous development of the worldwide communications with the great increase of ICPC’ membership both in China and overseas, but also for the more influential publicity of its works on the promotion and defence of the freedom of writing with the extensive increase of the information outputs resulting from our activities, and more importantly for the effective settlement of ICPC with its major manpower recourses in China.
Literature Exchange and Translation Programs
On 11 October, the first meeting of ICPC new Board decided to set up a Literature Exchange and Translation Committee (LE&TC) to enhance its communications within International PEN and other writers worldwide to draw more international concerns and supports toward the freedom of expression in China, particularly the situations of Chinese writers that has been worsening now. Since then, LE&TC has started its work.