More than 40 authors, including Jonathan Franzen, Neil Gaiman and Ian McEwan, have written an open letter to Xi Jinping, ahead of his first US state visit, expressing ‘concern about the deteriorating state of free expression in China’: The Guardian

Neil Gaiman, Ian McEwan and Jonathan Franzen have put their names to a letter calling on China’s president Xi Jinping to release the Chinese writers who “are languishing in jail for the crime of expressing their opinions”.

In an open letter to Xi, published just before the Chinese president’s first US state visit this week, more than 40 authors have come together to express their “deepest concern about the deteriorating state of free expression in China”. The letter highlights four cases of writers who are currently imprisoned in China: Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, sentenced to life in prison “for voicing his views online about the treatment of Uighurs”, according to PEN American Center; investigative journalist Gao Yu, a 71-year-old in ill health who was sentenced to seven years in prison earlier this year; literary critic and writer Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to an 11-year term in 2009 over calls for political reform; and his wife Liu Xia, a painter, poet and photographer who has been under house arrest for nearly five years, according to PEN.

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In an expanded deal, Bookmate has signed up HarperCollins Publishers on board its subscription-based social reading service, the Russia headquartered company announced today.

The agreement, which expands the deal struck in October 2014, will add a significant number of books from HarperCollins’ UK catalogue to Bookmate’s library of English-language titles, bringing the total number of English-language tittles up to 250,000, the company said in a statement.