Bei Ling, a poet and essayist, is the founder and editor of Tendency, an exile literary journal founded in late 1993 and published in Chinese. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the Independent Chinese PEN Center in 2001, an organization of Chinese writers and intellectuals based in Boston, Massachusetts, and dedicated to the freedom of expression.
In August 2000, Bei Ling was arrested for "illegally publishing" his journal in China. After a brief time in a Beijing jail, with the help of international society and the American State Department, he was released and expelled from China. He is on the Executive Board of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine, and a Research Associate at Harvard University's Fairbank Center for East Asian Research.
Bei Ling's poetry, essays and book reviews have been published in The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, and The Harvard Review. His poetry has been translated from Chinese into English, Japanese, German, French and Spanish.
He was a guest at the 2007 Sydney Writers’ Festival.