Yu Jie, Chinese Dissident | U.S. Asylum?


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 22:43 PM EDT, 16 January 2012

Yu Jie

CHINA - Yu Jie, age 38,  is a writer and Chinese dissident who was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. Yu has been a strong proponent of freedom of speech and an active participant in China's human rights movement. In 2006 as vice-president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center he and two other dissidents met with President George W. Bush at the White House.

On Friday, January 13, 2011, Yu petitioned for exile in the United States, vowing to give a graphic account of the year he was confined under house arrest, including episodes of torture endured by he and other Chinese dissidents during last year's crackdown.

Yu has openly expressed his own views about the increased suppression of free speech in China, and as one of China's most prominent Christian dissidents, he is vociferous in his condemnation of the Communist Party's antipathy toward religion and political criticism.

Unlike Liu Xiabo, who is currently jailed by the Chinese government, Yu is allowed to travel. Liu was convicted in 2009 on charges of inciting subversion and sentenced to 11 years in jail. His jailing and secretive house arrest of his wife Liu Xia, have become the focus of an international outcry over China's punishment of dissent.

Yu said authorities became heavy-handed after Liu Xiaobo, won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Similar to Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi; Yu was confined under house arrest in an attempt to intimidate and silence him. As the Arab Spring spread across the Middle East the Chinese Communist Party directed police to detain hundreds of dissidents, activists and protest organizers to quash similar uprisings.

The announcement by Yu of his desire to seek asylum, precedes a possible visit to Washington by Chinese leader-in-waiting, Vice President Xi Jinping. China's Communist Party is preparing for a leadership handover late this year to Vice President Xi, and the party is determined to fend off challenges to its rule by tightly controlling its media image.

Yu's writings have been censored in mainland China, and 5 years ago after he drew nationwide attention because his dissidence, his works were banned completely. However, his writings continue to be published in Hong Kong and abroad.

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