DISSIDENT WRITERS, ARTISTS, BLOGGERS AND SINGERS IN CHINA

DISSIDENT REPORTERS, BLOGGERS, REPORTERS AND SINGERS IN CHINA

In March 2011, two Chinese dissidents who were sentenced to 10 years in prison for getting together to talk about political reform and posting their views online were released after completing their jail terms. Xu Wei, a former reporter, and Jin Haike, a writer, were detained in 2001 and convicted of subversion in 2003 after taking part in an informal study group in Beijing that met privately to talk about democratic reform. [Source: AP]

The harsh sentences given to the men were a sign that China's intolerance of political dissent remained entrenched despite dramatic moves to reshape and liberalize the country's economic system. Friends and supporters had repeatedly sought medical parole for Jin, who underwent a botched appendectomy in prison and suffered abdominal pain and other health problems.

Xu staged several hunger strikes in prison after clashing with prison guards and allegedly suffered mental problems, rights groups have said. Jin, Xu and two other defendants, who became known as the "Four Gentlemen of Beijing," were convicted of subversion based mainly on a batch of Internet postings that called for political reform. "This was one of the first cases that involved an allegedly anti-government group organizing around the Internet," said Joshua Rosenzweig, research manager for the U.S.-based human rights group Dui Hua Foundation. "In a way, it was a sign of things to come because the Internet since then has become the chief virtual space in which political discussions takes place (in China)." The two other members of the group, Yang Zili and Zhang Honghai, were released in 2009 after completing 8-year prison terms.

In July 2009, blogger, Guo Baofeng, was detained for publicizing information but then suddenly released by the police after using Twitter to inform the public about what happened.

Huang Wei, a folk singer in Zhejiang province, was given 18 months in a labor camp for attempting to play a gig in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 2009, the 20th anniversary of the bloodshed.

Wu Yuren

Andrew Jacobs wrote in the New York Times: “In a case that has galvanized the Chinese arts community, a prominent artist who helped lead a short-lived demonstration along the nation’s most politically hallowed thoroughfare went on trial on assault charges that supporters say are aimed at punishing him for his political activism. The defendant, Wu Yuren, 39, is accused of assaulting a group of police officers at a Beijing police station last May. He had gone to the station house with a friend who was seeking to file a complaint against his landlord, but Mr. Wu ended up in a verbal confrontation with several officers after they grabbed his cellphone, said the friend, Yang Licai. [Source: Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, November 18, 2010]

The police officers say Mr. Wu attacked them. Mr. Wu says it was he who was beaten, a contention supported by Mr. Yang, who heard his cries from an adjoining room after his friend was dragged away. “The screams were terrifying,” said Mr. Yang, who was released 10 days later. But Mr. Wu’s supporters say they believe that the beating, prosecution and six months he has already spent in jail are revenge for a protest he helped organize on Chang---an Avenue, the ceremonial boulevard that runs past Tiananmen Square and the heavily guarded compound housing China’s top leaders.

Mr. Wu and about two dozen other artists briefly took to the streets last February after a group of men swinging iron rods tried to evict them from the studios they occupied in an arts district that was standing in the way of a redevelopment project. The protest apparently had the desired effect: several weeks later, the landlord seeking their eviction agreed to a fairly generous compensation package in exchange for their departure.

A provocative multimedia artist whose work is slyly political, Mr. Wu may have also angered the authorities by signing Charter 08, the manifesto calling for free elections that brought its main author, Liu Xiaobo, an 11-year jail sentence---and the Nobel Peace Prize. “I have no doubt this is a case of revenge,” said Mr. Wu’s wife, Karen Patterson, a Canadian citizen. “You have to ask why five officers decided to beat up one guy just for wanting his cellphone back. It doesn’t make sense.”

Mr. Wu could receive up to three years in prison if convicted. At the trial on Wednesday, prosecutors showed a three-minute video that supposedly depicts Mr. Wu’s offending behavior. But his lawyer, Li Fangping, said the video, which was shot by the police and was obviously edited, shows only Mr. Wu demanding his cellphone, then reciting the badge numbers of the officers he said were taunting him.

Mr. Li asked that the police produce an unedited version of the video, a motion that was granted by the judge. Nearly 100 supporters of Mr. Wu gathered outside the courthouse, as did a large number of police officers, some of whom were videotaping the crowd. “I was scared to come out here today, but you have to face your fears,” said Dou Bu, 38, a painter. “It’s not fair,” he said of his friend’s prosecution. “It’s like a game, but the rules are already set and you can’t change them.”

Wang Lihong

In September 2011, Wang Lihong, a 56-year-old blogger and activist, was given a nine-month jail sentence for taking part in a protests outside a courthouse in Fuzhou city in southern China in April 2010 to support three bloggers accused of slander after they tried to help an illiterate woman pressure authorities to reinvestigate her daughter’s death. Wang was charged with “creating a disturbance” and detained in April following the Jasmine Revolution protests.

Supporters told AP Wang represents a growing breed of internet-empowered Chinese ordinary people who mobilise others to fight problems such as corruption and miscarriages of justice. They say Wang is being punished for her involvement in a street protest in southern China against the prosecution of three bloggers. "I believe that Wang Lihong has not committed any crime," said Ai Xiaoming, a Guangzhou-based feminist scholar who helped set up a blog calling for Wang's release. "She is someone who has emerged from the internet era to become an organiser of citizen action." [Source: Associated Press August 3, 2011]

Wang was detained by Beijing police in late March 2011 during a sweeping crackdown on activists as authorities moved to prevent the growth of an Arab-style protest movement. Dissident artist Ai Weiwei, the most prominent target, was recently freed from three months of detention. She was held at a detention centre in central Beijing. One rights group said Chinese authorities have deemed Wang a threat because she represents a movement to use the internet to organise real-world protests. "That crucial step of moving protests from online to real social-political space is precisely what worries authorities," said Renee Xia, international director of the rights group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

"I think the most important thing is that every person learns how to be their own citizen and not become someone else's subordinate," Wang told Associated Press in October 2010, "In the past it was always about obeying the orders of a higher authority, saying yes, yes, yes all the time," Wang said. "But now everyone must know their human rights and be able to guarantee this. Only when you have responsible citizens will you have a well-functioning, lawful society."

Wang began pursuing rights issues in 2008 after retiring from a business renovating and renting out basement dwellings, her son told AP. She took it upon herself to investigate reports of injustice that had spread on the Internet, he said. The cases included Yang Jia, a man who confessed to killing six Shanghai police officers in 2008 in revenge for allegedly being tortured while being interrogated about a possibly stolen bike; and Deng Yujiao, a waitress who was accused of fatally stabbing a party official in 2009 to fend off his demands for sex. "On the one hand I really admire my mother and feel that someone like her is hard to come by," her son said. "But on the other hand I'm also very worried because there is no need to end up in this situation just for wanting to help someone."

Li Tie Sentenced for Subversion

In January 2012 Reuters reported: “A court in the mainland has sentenced writer Li Tie to 10 years in prison on subversion charges for writing essays that urged people to defend their rights, a relative said, the third person to be sentenced on such charges in less than a month. The court in Wuhan tried Li Tie in April 2011 but only declared him guilty in January Tuesday of "subversion of state power," the relative, who declined to be named for fear of retribution, said. [Source: Reuters, South China Morning Post, January 19, 2012]

The charge is more serious than the one of incitement, often used against critics of the ruling Communist Party. "He said in court: “I’m not guilty. When have I subverted state power?" the relative said. "The state has made this conclusion against him," the relative said. "You can’t understand it. Under these circumstances, you’re helpless. But this is our reality. He sat in front of the computer subverting state power.”"

The sentence was meted out in half an hour, he added, noting the court would not allow Li’s lawyer to represent him and appointed another lawyer to do so. Li was allowed to meet only with his mother and daughter. Rights activists say the harsh sentences are worrying signs that the government’s crackdown on dissidents is intensifying, ahead of the first anniversary of online calls for the Arab-Spring-inspired “Jasmine Revolution” rallies and before a leadership transition later in the year.

Li, 52, was convicted for writing 13 essays that called for defending "people’s rights" that he published in newspapers overseas and on the internet, said the relative. One of the essays was entitled Human Beings’ Dignity is equivalent to heaven, the source said. "He worshipped Chairman Mao and would use Mao Zedong’s Thought in his essays," the source said, referring to the communist theory espoused by China’s former leader. "He always used to tell me: “I’m using the language of the Communist Party, so why are they after me?" the relative said. During the past decade, Li has written many online articles promoting democracy, constitutional government, and direct local elections, according to the Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Li was initially detained by the Wuhan public security bureau last September on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power," his relative said. When the Wuhan court issued a formal notice on Li’s arrest a month later, the charge had been changed to "subversion of state power," he said. The relative said the court did not give a reason for the more serious charge.

Li was a member of the China Social Democracy Party, according to the Chinese Human Rights Defenders. China typically invokes "subversion" if there is an "existence of some underground organisation", said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher with Human Rights Watch.Defendants facing subversion charges in mainland courts are almost never acquitted.

The latest sentence comes just three weeks after another dissident, Chen Xi, was sentenced by a court in Guiyang, in the southwestern province of Guizhou, to 10 years in jail for inciting subversion. In December, another dissident---Chen Wei from Sichuan province in the southwest---was jailed for nine years on similar charges of "inciting subversion". "By doling harsh sentences against them, the Chinese government is sending a clear message in response to the Arab Spring, it is drawing a red line---advocate democratisation and you’d be given a decade in prison."

Li Tie’s Crimes

The BBC reported: Li Tie was found guilty of the extremely serious crime of "subversion of state power", essentially the act of undermining the Communist Party and its right to rule. Although "subversion" would usually imply actions that endanger the state, the basis of his conviction, according to his family, was not what he did, but what he wrote and said. [Source: BBC, January 19, 2012]

'The campaign group Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) said Li Tie's relatives reported that the evidence presented against him at his trial included articles he wrote criticising the government - some published overseas - contributions he made to online discussions, and comments he made at gatherings of friends.CHRD said that, according to Mr Li's family, the prosecutors claimed his words demonstrated "anti-government thoughts" and it should be presumed he would take part in "anti-government actions".

One of the articles cited at the trial was titled Human Paradise Is Where Humans Have Dignity, written by Li Tie in March 2008 and published online. In it, he makes a clear reference to the Tiananmen Massacre of 1989, still a taboo subject that many writers don't dare address openly. That is one reason why he may have been seen as worthy of such harsh punishment. "Nineteen years ago, gunshots. Many young people's lives were taken; they were for democracy, against corruption. Until today, the exact number of casualties has yet to be released. "Listen, those gunshots still ring out in our ears. Everyone who heard them, are you awake? Stand straight, fellow compatriots, don't fall down," he wrote.

In the same article, Li Tie compares today's Communist Party rule with an earlier period of Chinese history, widely regarded as a time of cruelty and repression. "Speeches are restricted, the internet is blocked, websites can be shut down, sensitive words deleted. This makes one wonder whether we have gone back in time to the West Zhou dynasty.

"The Zhou Li emperor was corrupt, monopolised all resources. Ordinary people were forbidden from cutting wood and hunting; people's speech was monitored." And he goes on: "In 841 BC, revolutions erupted. Ordinary people and slaves took up weapons and assaulted the royal court. The Zhou emperor was chased away and a republic was established. But has China's Zhou emperor been chased away? Chinese people don't dare to say; can they only stare angrily?"

Chinese artists often talks about past dynasties when they want to address sensitive issues today. Few draw the comparisons so bluntly. But writers more often face charges of "incitement to subversion" rather than of 'subversion' itself. Li Tie's supporters say he has spent the past decade writing articles calling for democracy, constitutional government and direct local elections in China. So why, you might ask, has he been targeted now?

Lie Tie was actually detained in September 2010. He was not tried until April 2011. The verdict has just been delivered, almost a year later - a violation of China's legal procedures, according to CHRD. But his arrest came at a time when China was beginning its current crackdown on internal critics.

In Human Paradise Is Where Humans Have Dignity, Li Tie was openly critical of the Communist Party, writing that: "China's revolutionaries have again established a new system of enslavement. This is sad for my country and people. History is repeating itself." And he talks of the need for free speech: "In China's history, so many people have been sent to prison for what they said and wrote. Freedom of speech is what people cry for from their hearts. It is people's dignity and right."

Zhu Yufu Charged with Subversion

In January 2012, China National News reported: “A veteran Chinese dissident, Zhu Yufu, has been charged with subversion for writing and publishing a poem on the internet, according to his lawyer. The poem, entitled It's Time, urged people to gather in support of freedom, the China Daily reports. [Source: China National News, January 18, 2012]

Zhu's lawyer said no date had been set for the trial. Chinese officials have not commented on the reported charge. Zhu was formally arrested last April as China began a wide-ranging clampdown on dissent. The lawyer, Li Dunyong, said he had collected the indictment on Monday from a court in the eastern city of Hangzhou. He said Zhu was "in a good condition".

Zhu is a veteran activist who was involved in the 1979 Democracy Wall movement, which pressed for a quicker pace of change in China. He has been jailed twice before for his activism - in 1999 for seven years and in 2007 for two years.

Zhu Yufu Jailed for Inciting Subversion

In February 2012, Reuters reported: “A Chinese court in Hangzhou, eastern China, has sentenced veteran dissident Zhu Yufu to seven years in jail for "inciting subversion of state power." The trial hearing began on January 31 when prosecutors cited a poem and messages he had sent on the internet , his son Zhu Ang told Reuters. [Source: Reuters, The Guardian, February 10, 2012]

The poem said: "It's time, Chinese people! It's time. The Square belongs to all." References to a "square" might evoke memories among many Chinese people of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, though the poem did not mention it or the 1989 pro-democracy protests. It read: "It's time It's time, Chinese people. The square belongs to everyone The feet are yours It's time to use your feet to go to the square and make a choice." Prosecutors also cited text messages that he sent using Skype. There was no suggestion that the online chat service helped police to collect evidence.

"The court verdict said this was a serious crime that deserved stern punishment," said Zhu Ang, 31, who said he was allowed to attend the court hearing with his mother. "Now my mother is terribly upset, even if we saw this coming." He said the verdict cited his father's online calls for mobilisation in the name of democracy. "Basically, the only chance that my father had to say anything was when he was being taken out after the hearing, and he stopped and said: 'I want to appeal.'"

The jailing comes as the Chinese vice-president, Xi Jinping, who is expected to succeed Hu Jintao as Communist party chief, left for Washington, where he got an earful of criticism on China's human rights record. punishment of independent political activity and clampdown in Tibetan areas.

The sentencing of Zhu followed the jailing of two other Chinese dissidents in December who received prison terms of 10 and nine years on subversion charges. Such charges are often used to punish ardent advocates of democratic change. "What the activists have in common is their long-term unwavered (sic) commitment to democracy," said Songlian Wang, research co-ordinator for the rights group.

When Words Are Crimes in China

In January 2012, the BBC reported: In under a month, three men have been convicted and jailed for between nine and 10 years each. Their crime? Writing articles that criticise China's political system and the Communist Party that sits at the apex of power. So who are the targets? What's so dangerous about them? And why is this happening?[Source: BBC, January 19, 2012]

Ever since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Ever since, writers, lawyers, artists and activists have been under growing pressure. Many have found themselves detained or jailed. The US ambassador to China, Gary Locke, told a TV interviewer this week that "the human rights climate in China has always ebbed and flowed... but we seem to be in a down period and it's getting worse."

Mr Locke said it was clear China's leaders were unnerved by calls on the internet last year for Chinese people to stage their own Arab-style "jasmine revolution", despite the fact that few people heeded the calls. "The Chinese leaders are very fearful of something similar happening within China. So there's been a significant crackdown on dissent, political discussion, even the rights and the activities of lawyers who advocate on behalf of people who have been poisoned from tainted food and medicines."China's government says there is no crackdown. A foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin, said this week that the ambassador's comments were "inconsistent with the facts".

"As to some people who have been punished by law," said Liu Xiaobo, "it is not because China is repressing freedom of expression or freedom of religion, it is because they reached the bottom line of China's law and violated China's laws and, naturally, they should be punished. "This has nothing to do with so-called human rights," he said.

Viewed from outside, China seems to many an increasingly powerful and confident nation. Inside China, that is hard to square with the way it treat writers and activists who question the orthodoxies of Communist power. Instead, China's crackdown seems to speak of deep-seated insecurities. Words, it seems, can be dangerous in China, particularly to those who write them.

"In China today, outspoken writers and artists who challenge the status quo of authoritarian one-party rule are increasingly being forced into a stark choice - prison, exile or intimidated silence," says Phelim Kine, a senior Asia researcher at the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Yu Jie

Yu Jie is a prominent Chinese writer and dissident who is writing Liu Xiaobo's biography. He is a close friend of Liu's and an outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party and wrote a blistering attack on China's premier Wen Jiabao titled China's Best Actor: Wen Jiabao. [Source: Emily-Anne Owen, Asia Times, February 1, 2012]

Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times, His political education actually began in his hometown, Chengdu. “I was 16 during the 1989 protests, and this had a big impact on me,” he said. “I didn’t take part, but every night we would listen to BBC and the Voice of America.” Mr. Yu studied modern Chinese literature at Peking University. He began writing essays and passed around printouts and photocopies to friends. [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, February 25, 2012]

Yu was labeled a literary sensation when his first book, “Fire and Ice,” appeared in 1998. It was a scathing work of social and political criticism that the China scholar Geremie R. Barmé called “undoubtedly the most provocative book of its kind to have appeared in years.” Mr. Yu even quoted Mr. Liu in his book, which Mr. Barmé noted was apparently the first time someone on the mainland had publicly cited him in a positive light in years. Mr. Liu had been sentenced in 1996 to three years of hard labor for his writings.

Mr. Yu’s writings were packaged with those of two other intellectuals. Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobo, gave her husband the books while he was in prison “to show that a younger generation of writers was active,” Mr. Yu said. But Mr. Liu published a harsh critique of the writings.

Nevertheless, another prominent writer, Liao Yiwu, arranged a dinner in Beijing where Mr. Liu and Mr. Yu met. A working friendship was born. The two wrote together and led theIndependent Chinese PEN Center. Their relationship extended through the writing of Charter 08, when Mr. Yu discussed drafts with Mr. Liu. Mr. Yu, who converted to Christianity in 2003, said he had extensive input on the part about religious freedom. “Christianity gives me a very strong basis for my faith,” he said. “I don’t think that democracy can be a faith. Only a more ultimate goal would allow me to withstand all the difficulties I’ve gone through.”

The Yue Jie wrote in Foreign Policy, “My own experience serves as proof. During the Jiang Zemin era from 1997 to 2002, I participated in many human rights activities, such as running the Independent Chinese Pen Center with Liu Xiaobo and sending out open letters, including one suggesting changing Mao's mausoleum into a museum about the Cultural Revolution. Secret police trailed me and tapped my phone, but they did so quietly, and with a sense of integrity. In 2009, during the Hu era, I published a book about Premier Wen Jiabao, claiming he wasn't a real reformer. That year, on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, police used a table to block my door and wouldn't let me leave my apartment. They acted brazenly and without a sense of shame. In October 2010, after Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, they put me under house arrest and then kidnapped and tortured me. One of the secret police warned me: "We could bury you alive within half an hour." I believed him. In the Hu era, China has taken a big step toward fascism.

Yu Jie’s Books

Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times, The last of Mr. Yu’s 11 books was an attack on Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, whom many Chinese praise as having an empathic character. But Mr. Yu argued in “China’s Best Actor: Wen Jiabao” that that was merely a construct intended to fool ordinary Chinese. He said he did not expect much better from Xi Jinping, who is likely to be China’s next president, and those who surround him. Mr. Xi went on a carefully choreographed five-day tour of the United States this month. [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, February 25, 2012]

“The country’s leader is simply a guy selected by a few of the most powerful families in China to work for them,” Mr. Yu said. “It’s because they’re in this power scheme together, and because they benefit from it, and because the social conflict in China is a lot sharper now. To maintain the status quo, they’ll do whatever they can.” “I think I truly became a political dissident after 1999, when I became friends with Liu Xiaobo and took part in the following decade or so in all the activities he did for human rights in China,” Mr. Yu said. Whenever one of his articles was published in Hong Kong, officers would show up to harass him in Beijing, he said. He began thinking about leaving last spring, and got permission last month, he said. Officials probably believed it would be better to have him outside China in this transition year, Mr. Yu said. Officers accompanied him, his wife, Liu Min, and their son, Yu Guangyi, to the Beijing airport boarding gate and took their picture.

Yu Jie Tortured

Yu Jie also claims to have been detained for four days in December 2010 during which time he was nearly "tortured to death". According to the 38-year-old Christian, an officer told him: "Right now, foreigners are awarding Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize, humiliating our party and government. We'll pound you to death to avenge this. As far as we can tell, there are no more than 200 intellectuals in the country who oppose the Communist Party and are influential. If the central authorities think that their rule is facing a crisis, they can capture them all in one night and bury them alive."

Yu claims to have been abducted and beaten severely by plainclothes officers the day before the Nobel Prize ceremony. The officers allegedly stripped, slapped and kicked Yu before threatening to break his fingers, leaving the writer hospitalized. "[Plainclothes officials] began beating me in the head and the face without explanation. 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," he said in the statement.

"They forced me to spread out my hands and bent my fingers backwards one by one. They said, 'You've written many articles attacking the Communist Party with these hands, so we want to break your fingers one by one'." Mr. Yu fainted and was taken to a hospital, where doctors pulled him from death’s door, he said.”If the order comes from above, we can dig a pit to bury you alive in half an hour, and no one on earth would know,” Mr. Yu told the New York Times the head officer told him.

Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times, Mr. Yu said his work with Mr. Liu had been a focus of his interrogation in December 2010. “They asked in detail about articles I had written in the past 10 years,” he said. “They asked a lot of questions about my interaction with Liu Xiaobo and the mothers of Tiananmen Square victims, and they asked about my trips abroad.” He said the interrogators also singled out the biography of Mr. Liu that he was writing and the book about Mr. Wen.[Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, February 25, 2012] Four days after being tortured, Mr. Yu was released but forced to stay in Chengdu for three months. Even after returning to Beijing, he was told by officers to leave the capital during certain times, like the annual anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Yu Jie Flees to the United States

In January 2012, Yu Jie fled to the United States.Yu Jie, claiming in a protracted statement to have suffered repeated harassment, house arrest and torture. Yu left China with his family after over a year of government intimidation. At a news conference in Washington, Yu said that he was placed under house arrest in October 2010 following the announcement that Liu had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He told the New York Times after returning home from prison, he talked to family and friends about leaving China. “I said multiple times before that as long as my life was not threatened, I would not leave China,” he said in the two-story house where he and his family live, which belongs to a church friend. “But after Liu Xiaobo’s arrest, I was tortured by the government and almost lost my life.” [Source: Emily-Anne Owen, Asia Times, February 1, 2012]

Mr. Yu is one of several prominent Chinese intellectuals to have chosen a path of self-exile because of the hardening of the state against voices of dissent, the New York Times reported. Though there are dissidents like Mr. Liu who maintain they will never leave China, Mr. Yu said his friends supported his decision. “They said the situation for people like us is going to get worse, not better,” he said.

"Yu Jie's difficult decision - like that of fellow writer Liao Yiwu - to go into self-exile highlights how the deepening hostility of the Chinese government to writers who won't self-censor their works in line with the official narrative." Perry Link, professor of comparative literature at the University of California and an editor and translator of No Enemies, No Hatred, told Inter Press Service: "It is a very complex decision of course, to decide to go into self exile. I am sure for [Yu's] family - his child, his wife - it feels more secure outside of China.

The scholar Perry Link said, "The main cost of putting oneself outside in China is cutting off influence in China. There are a whole list of activists who have fled abroad and who can now write more freely but have less influence within China - I am sure Yu Jie realized that when he made the calculation."But, Link adds, "One reason Liu Xiaobo is admired in his circles is that he won't leave. He wants to stay. He has made a different decision."

Yu now lives with his family in a modest house in a pleasant Northern Virginia suburb of Fairfax. Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times, Mr. Yu is finishing two books scheduled to be published this year in Hong Kong. One is a critique of Hu Jintao, the current president, and the other is a biography of Mr. Liu. And how will he remain relevant while outside China? Mr. Yu said he believed the Internet would help. He has a Twitter account with nearly 30,000 followers. (He said he preferred not to use Chinese microblogs because of censorship.) [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, February 25, 2012]

Mr. Yu said his immediate goals were to apply for asylum and finish the two books. Then he plans to work on a book about the history of Christianity in China.”Maybe in a couple years I’ll have a green card, and maybe I’ll become an American citizen,” he said. “But I see my career and lifelong goal as achieving democracy and freedom in China. And so my goal is to eventually return to China.”

Image Sources: Wiki Commons Taipei TC; Learn to Question; More Less com; China News Digest; AP, Harvard Business School

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated April 2012


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