Prior to a recent reprinting, ‘A Narrow Escape From Death: My ‘Right-wing’ Life’, a book from retired Xinhua journalist Dai Huang was banned from being published by order of China's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), in which Dai recounts the years during which he was cast as a rightist and forced to undergo reform labor.
Civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, one of the biggest names in his field, has agreed to take up Dai's case. Pu's Sohu blog has recently been deleted, but a statement from the lawyer appeared on ‘edgy’ bbs forum WHXF late on the evening of March 21st. Dear friends, Pu begins:
The letter posted onto the bbs seems to have been truncated from an e-mail:
The next—third—time Pu contacted the court, March 13, was to inquire on the case's progress. Pu says he was told authorization had just been sent down from the Beijing Supreme Court, that it was being researched and we would still have to wait. Around the time the Two Sessions ended, Pu writes, it was announced that the Beijing #2 Intermediate Court had rejected Mr. Dai Huang's case against the GAPP .
On March 20, contact was made with the court for a fourth time, at which point Pu says he was told the reason Mr. Dai Huang's lawsuit was rejected was because Dai “doesn't meet the legal requirements”, with the court saying it felt the object of GAPP's “shot” was not Dai himself, but the China's Writer Union and the Writer's Publishing Houses.
So is Dai qualified to sue the GAPP for ordering his book not to be published? Pu writes:
What's crucial about this, Pu says, is that unlike the list of eight books banned recently, Mr. Dai's book was banned before it even came out, making this what Pu sees as one of most notorious examples of pre-emptive censorship ever…As the first case of a mainland writer suing the GAPP administration for illegally banning a book, the significance of this case is especially profound.
Finishing up, Pu writes:
March 21, 2007