Dissident risks jail to publish book critical of Chinese premier

Last Updated: Mon, Aug 16, 2010 10:20 hrs

A book criticising the Chinese premier went on sale in Hong Kong Monday, despite alleged threats by Beijing against its author.

Writer Yu Jie says he was detained in July by police in Beijing for four hours and warned that he faced jail if he did not withdraw his book, 'China's Best Actor: Wen Jiabao'.

Yu decided to publish the book - which accuses Wen of manipulating the media and failing to promote political reforms - in Hong Kong despite the warning.

The book attacks Wen's reputation as a reformer in touch with the people, an image promoted by high-profile visits to victims of natural disasters such as the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Books by Yu, 36, are already banned on the mainland. His book on Wen is expected to go on sale in North America as well as Hong Kong.

Yu said in an interview after his detention that he believed he might be jailed over the book but insisted he would go ahead with publication and was willing to bear 'all the consequences'.

In December 2009, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years for speaking out in favour of political reform. The arrest drew condemnation from international human rights groups.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 but has a separate mini-constitution allowing freedoms of speech denied to people on the mainland.

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