Amidst the alarming consistency with which China has been sending its dissenting writers and legal activists to lengthy jail terms, another of its writers is planning to seek asylum in the US.
Yu Jie, 38, author of a book critical of Chinese Premiere Wen Jiabao and also a close associate of jailed Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo announced of his intentions at a press conference held in Washington on Wednesday.
In a press statement describing the torture and persecution he underwent for over a year at the hands of state police, Yu said he was detained several times in the past year and beaten so badly that he passed out.
Yu said he was hooded and taken away by plainclothes officers to an undisclosed location on December 9, 2010, the day before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
“They stripped off all my clothes and pushed me, naked, to the ground, and kicked me maniacally. They also had a camera and were taking pictures as I was being beaten, saying with glee that they would post the naked photos online,” Yu said.
“They forced me to kneel and slapped me over a hundred times in the face. They even forced me to slap myself … They also kicked me in the chest and then stood on me after I had fallen to the ground.”
Following his initial arrest, Yu said he was put under close surveillance with state officials curtailing his freedom of movement.
“After over a year of inhumane treatment and painful struggle, I had no choice but to leave China,” he said.
“I cannot publish any work, neither articles nor books. Other people are also barred from mentioning me in their public articles”.
After publishing his ‘banned in China’ book, “China’s Best Actor: Wen Jiabao”, Yu now plans to write a biography of Nobel Laureate Liu, as well as a book on Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Following calls for an Arab inspired Jasmine Revolution in China last year, Beijing has markedly stepped up its campaign against writers, lawyers, and activists.
For the third time in less than a month, a Chinese court this week sentenced a prominent rights activist to a lengthy prison term on charges involving subversion of state power.
Li Tei, 52 was sentenced to 10 years for writing online articles encouraging people to defend their rights.
Li’s sentencing comes weeks after democracy activist, Chen Wei, was sentenced to nine years in jail for inciting subversion, and dissident, Chen Xi, received a 10-year term on the same charge.
A fourth activist, Zhu Yufu, was charged with subversion this week for writing a poem that urged Chinese citizens to gather together to call for freedom.