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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

China Seeks to Halt Book That Faults Its Prime Minister

July 12, 2010

By Michael Wines
New York Times
July 7, 2010

BEIJING -- A best-selling Chinese author and
democracy advocate detained by security agents on
Monday said Tuesday that the agents threatened to
imprison him if he proceeded with plans to
publish a book criticizing Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister.

The author, Yu Jie, said in a telephone interview
that he still intended to publish the book,
titled "China’s Best Actor: Wen Jiabao,: by
autumn. Because his books are banned in mainland
China, Mr. Yu said, he is negotiating with a Hong Kong publisher.

Mr. Yu, 36, said he was questioned for four hours
on Monday by police officers and agents of
Beijing’s public security bureau who specialize
in dealing with political dissidents. One
security agent :told me that Wen Jiabao is not
some ordinary guy," he said, "and my criticism
against him will be considered as harming state
security and the national interest."

"‘If you insist on publishing this book,’ -- he
said he was told, -- ‘you will probably end up
like Liu Xiaobo, who suffered imprisonment of
many years.’ -- Mr. Liu, another writer and
rights activist, was sentenced last December to
11 years in prison after leading a public
movement calling for democratic reforms and an end to Communist Party rule.

Mr. Yu, who was released Monday after the
interrogation, said that he was uncertain whether
the agents’ threat was serious, but that he
willing to go to prison for his principles.

"As a writer, I consider freedom of speech an
essential part of my life," he said. "Without it
I will be a walking corpse, with no meaning and no value."

Mr. Yu, who has written 28 books, once was a
best-selling writer in mainland China, but his
political views have led to the banning of his
works. His new book’s "best actor" title draws on
a nickname -- a sly reference to the Academy
Awards honor -- that critics have bestowed on Mr. Wen.

A populist style and expressions of concern for
China’s people have made Mr. Wen by far the best
liked of China’s leaders, but Mr. Yu and other
skeptics contend that the image only masks the
authoritarian bent of China’s leadership.

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