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“The state security people said Wen Jiabao isn’t a normal citizen, he’s the premier, so criticizing him hurts the nation’s interests and security,” Mr. Yu said at the time. “(They said) I could be given a heavy sentence like Liu Xiaobo.”

Mr. Liu, also an author-dissident, is serving an 11-year sentence after being convicted of inciting to subvert state power.

Mr. Yu said China’s policies under Wen and President Hu Jintao are more hard-line against dissidents than under previous leader Jiang Zemin. Under international and especially U.S. pressure, several political prisoners were released under  Mr. Jiang, but no one has been released under Mr. Hu and Mr. Wen, he said.

The book comes out as concerns are rising that China is returning to a harsher attitude toward freedoms since 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics.

“There has been a palpable sense that earlier progress toward rule of law in China has stalled, or even suffered a reversal, and there is mounting evidence that a crackdown is under way,” Joshua Rosenzweig, research manager for the U.S.-based human rights group Dui Hua Foundation, told a U.S. congressional hearing Tuesday.

Mr. Yu said the book later will be available in English, and he hopes it can be made available for download online after its publication.

“If Wen doesn’t agree,” Mr. Yu said of his writing, “he can write an article to disagree.”

Associated Press writer Isolda Morillo contributed to this report.