Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Brave Face

Dissident writer Yu Jie who has moved to the US
The author of a book criticizing Premier Wen Jiabao has gone into self-imposed exile in the United States and will testify before a congressional panel this week about the abuses he has suffered.

Yu Jie, his wife and three-year-old son arrived in Washington earlier this week and doesn't have plans to go back to China anytime soon.

He is known for writing China's Best Actor: Wen Jiabao in which he claims the Chinese premier is a mediocre technocrat who rose to the top by avoiding political conflicts and by manipulating public sentiment.

The book came out in 2010 and was published in Hong Kong, and banned on the mainland. Before it came out, Yu, 38, received a warning from police in Beijing that he would risk being accused of "endangering national security" and be jailed if the book was published.

Months after the book was released, Yu was detained by police on December 9, 2010, the eve of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony which honoured jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.

"I was kidnapped and several people stripped me and beat me to the point where I collapsed and had to be taken to hospital to be saved," he recalled.

He believes his book and his close ties with Liu have made him a thorn in Beijing's side.

"But I have no regrets over writing that book," he says. "What has happened to me just proves that my judgement about Wen was correct."

Yu is also the leader of an underground Protestant church in China, something officials do not tolerate either.

At next week's congressional hearing, Yu plans to testify in detail about his detention by police and his freedom severely curtailed to the point where he says he was under house arrest.

Yu had wanted to leave China last year, but Chinese officials wouldn't allow him. It was only after negotiating with them several times and promising not to have any friends see him off at the airport was he and his family allowed to leave.

All eyes and ears will be on Yu's congressional testimony this coming week. It will probably further portray China as a terribly insecure country that tolerates no criticism of itself and will add to its already horrific list of human rights abuses. Perpetuating this image will only further frighten most Americans who have never traveled outside their country.

Not to belittle what Yu has experienced, but hopefully he will also shed light on the complex beast that is the Communist Party of China -- that it is so overwhelmed by its domestic problems that it only knows intimidation and violence to maintain control.

We need more constructive observations to help formulate better strategies in dealing with China and make it more accountable for how it treats its own people.

1 comment:

  1. he stoops to conquer. that is a shameful but only effective way to survive the heavy handed political prosecution in his own country. it is sad. pity the political prisoners like liu xiao-bo.