Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) announced on December 20 in Beijing, China that ICPC's Free-to-Write Award 2005, the third time of the award since it was set up 2002, was given to Wu Si, a writer based in Beijing, for his persistent writing with a free spirit, and ICPC's first Lin Zhao Memorial Award, just set up this year, to Lu Xuesong, a 32 years old female university teacher in Jilin province, China, for her brave effort to promote freedom of expression in her teaching.
ICPC is a chapter of International PEN and works for promotion of free Chinese literature and for freedom of writing for writers in Chinese language all over the world, particularly in China. Half of ICPC's members are in China, and half are abroad, spreading from Europe, United States, Canada to Japan, Australia, etc.
Wu Si was born in Beijing in 1957, China. After graduated from Department of Chinese Language and Literature of China People's University in 1982, he became editor/journalist at Peasants' Daily. From 1993 to 1996 he was vice-director of the international magazine Bridge, and also editor-in-chief of its Chinese version. Since 1996 up to the date he has been the executive editor-in-chief of the famous magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu (Chinese history). In recent years, he has published several books with nation-wide influence, particularly among intellectuals, such as Chen Yonggui in Zhongnanhai? An Experiment to Reform China (2001), Potential Principle: A Real Game of Chinese History (2002), Blood Award Principle: Existence Game of Chinese History (2004), etc.
Lin Zhao was a university girl student in the 1950s, who already proclaimed freedom of expression and openly criticized the Communist Party's dictatorship, and therefore she was put in prison form many years and later even executed. ICPC sets up a memorial award for her this year in order to honor and encourage those young intellectuals who follow Lin Zhao as a model to promote freedom of expression. Lu Xusong was born in Changchun City, Jilin Province in 1973. From 1996 to 2001 she studied at the Institute of Literature of Jilin University, and after that she becomes a teacher of dramatic literature and history of Chinese films at Jilin College of Fine Arts. In spring of 2005 she used a document film Looking for Lin Zhao's Spirit as her teaching material for students and praised Lin Zhao for her fight for freedom, which led to that the authorities took off her right to teach, and even suited her for a trial. But Lu Xuesong wrote an open letter to the collage principal to claim her right and showed her brave spirit for freedom of expression. This event made a nation-wide response as well.
The nomination for these two awards started in August among ICPC members. ICPC's Free-to-Write Committee made the primary selection and evaluation. Candidates for Free-to-Write Awards included Liao Yiwu, Wang Jianhui, Wu Si, Zhang Lin (in prison) and Yang Chunguang (died in October), all from China. Candidates for Lin Zhao Memorial Awards included Jing Wa, a poet living in California, Lu Xusong and Yang Yinbo from China. The final decision was made by the ICPC board through voting. The board announced its motivation for giving Wu Si Free-to-Write Award as following:
“Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC) chooses Wu Si among so many excellent candidates for ICPC Free-to-Write Award 2005, for his persistent effort and explore of the spirit of freedom of writing.”
Both Mr. Wu Si and Ms. Lu Xusong have confirmed that they accept the awards and expressed their acknowledgement. ICPC will arrange a ceremony to issue the awards at an appropriate time and place as soon as possible.