Chinese Dissident Detained for Planning to Write Book
The Obama administration won't help dissident Yu Jie.
4:51 PM, Jul 14, 2010 • By KELLEY CURRIE
Last week, Chinese novelist Yu Jie was taken into custody and interrogated by the State Security Bureau after announcing that he would soon be publishing a book, titled China's Best Actor: Wen Jiabao, about China's premier. After his release, Yu insisted that he would continue to pursue publication of the book, even though the authorities threatened to give him a long prison sentence like that given to his mentor and fellow writer Liu Xiaobo.
Yu also penned and posted a fascinating transcript (in Chinese) of his interrogation session with state security on the dissident blog Observe China, which has now been translated into English by the Laogai Research Foundation. Yu's narrative of his surreal conversation with the Chinese authorities is a must read: It is simultaneously chilling, inspiring, and hilarious. He ridicules, challenges, and baits his interrogators, even as they threaten his family, friends, and church with reprisals if he continues to pursue his critical writings.
One section in particular caught my attention, however. At one point in their "discussion," the Chinese policeman "Zhu," who is leading his interrogation, taunts Yu over the Obama administration's apparent lack of interest in him and other dissidents (emphasis mine):
It’s outrageous to see that the U.S. Embassy in Beijing has apparently cut off contact with Yu Jie since Obama's election. For brave and committed individuals such as Yu Jie, who are risking their lives for freedom in defiance of China's authoritarian government, international support is an important source of protection. But both Yu and his official tormentors seem to be accommodating themselves to a new world in which such support cannot be relied upon. The Chinese government's increasingly bold attacks on dissidents are a predictable outgrowth of the conspicuous silence of the West.
It saddens me to see that Yu no longer expects support from the American government, but I know that he will keep fighting for freedom of expression in China, whether our government stands with him or not. The bravery of China's dissidents in the face of their government's bullying threats and abuse is a devastating rebuke of the Obama administration's weak-willed China policy.