Exiled Chinese writer Yu Jie, who was permitted to leave China in 2012 after "years of increasingly harsh surveillance and harassment by the police and by security guards hired by the government" cannot seem to escape the clutches of the Communist Chinese government.
According to a New York Times article, the Virginia-based Yu Jie has thus far been unable to have his book, titled "Godfather of China Xi Jinping" published in Hong Kong due to threats direct and indirect leveled at potential publishers.
The writer Yu Jie, his wife, Liu Min, and their son, Yu Guangyi, in Washington in January 2012 after China allowed them to leave. Living now in Fairfax, Va., Mr. Yu says he hopes to stay but sees his “lifelong goal as achieving democracy and freedom in China.” (Image Source: Cliff Owen/Associated Press)
Two publishers in Hong Kong sought to publish Mr. Yu's book: the first was arrested upon an unrelated visit to mainland China under dubious circumstances; the second received a threatening phone call from an anonymous individual in Beijing, indicating that the book "absolutely cannot be published." Further, according to Yu Jie, speaking on behalf of the second publisher:
“The message was that if he went ahead with publication, then his personal safety and that of his family couldn’t be guaranteed...His wife became extremely worried. His wife was adamantly opposed to publishing the book.”
Hong Kong, which the Times describes as a "self-administered territory that preserved a robust tradition of free speech after returning to Chinese sovereignty in 1997" is a popular spot for publishing and selling literature critical of the Chinese government, as mainland Chinese visitors are able to purchase such materials and smuggle them back to the mainland, in the face of Chinese censorship of such material.
Mr. Yu feels that his inability to have his book published in Hong Kong specifically, and the creeping influence of mainland Chinese totalitarianism more broadly reflect disturbing trends:
“If this book can’t be published in Hong Kong, at a minimum, it demonstrates that freedom of press and publication in Hong Kong is in retreat,” Mr. Yu said in a telephone interview. “I argue that Xi Jinping’s entire approach is harsh repression at home and expansionism abroad, so China increasingly resembles a fascist state.”
Yu Jie, who has published similarly critical books of Chinese President Xi Jinping's predecessor, Hu Jintao and former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, argues in his book that "The Hollywood film ‘The Godfather’ is Xi Jinping’s political study guide...The Communist Party is China’s biggest Mafia, and the party boss Xi Jinping is the Godfather of China.”
The title comes from the fact that President Xi Jinping has stated that he watched the film, "The Godfather" as a young man.
The Times summarizes the book as characterizing President Xi Jinping "as a thuggish politician driven by a dangerous compound of Maoist nostalgia and authoritarian, expansionist impulses."
As for Mr. Yu's plans going forward:
"Mr. Yu said he still hoped to find a publisher in Hong Kong, among the several that have no business dealings or vulnerable family ties in mainland China. If that fails, he said, a publisher in Taiwan could issue the book there and prepare an edition for sale in Hong Kong."