Since 2015, author and publisher Gui Minhai has been detained in China without formal charge or trial. No one knows for certain what Minhai is being accused of, but the Chinese authorities have admitted that he is "subject to coercive measures".
In a statement, Swedish PEN announced that the jury selected Mr. Gui for his work on behalf of freedom of expression and free speech.
“For many years, Gui Minhai ran a publishing house and bookstore based in Hong Kong. He wrote himself and published others. A work in the service of freedom of expression. For this, Gui Minhai was imprisoned. The award is given to his tireless work for the free word, in support of his release and the right to resume his publicist activities.
China is currently ranked 177th out of 180 nations in Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index
"We are very happy to be able to give the award to Gui Minhai, even though he cannot receive it himself due to his continued captivity", said Jesper Bengtsson, chairman of Swedish PEN, in a press release. "PEN will work for Mr. Gui's case until the day he is released", Bengtsson added.
The Swedish publishing house Kaunitz-Olsson will publish poems by Gui Minhai next year, the title of which is: "I draw a door on the wall with my finger". Gui smuggled the poems out of prison. The book will be available from 5 May 2020, reports Reuters news agency.
About China's extensive punitive prison system and the fight for human rights:
Author: Susanne Berger, MA
Fotos: Header ©Colin Watts; Portrait Gui Minhai ©Angela Gui; Bookcover
Quote: Susanne Berger, "Swedish Author Gui Minhai honored with Tucholsky Prize 2019", in: Fritz Bauer Blog, November 16, 2019, URL: https://www.fritz-bauer-blog.de/en/home/news/susanne-berger-gui-minhai-honored-with-tucholsky-prize