- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chinese dissident Yu Jie said Wednesday that security officials in Beijing tortured him to the brink of death because of his political opinions and friendship with another prominent pro-democracy advocate, Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

In his first public remarks since he fled China with his wife and son last week, Mr. Yu said he may seek political asylum in the United States and will continue to speak out against the “increasingly fascist, barbaric and brutal regime” in China.

The writer described the Chinese government as the “greatest threat to the free world and the greatest threat to all freedom-loving people.”

A Chinese Embassy spokesman in Washington did not return a request for comment.

A longtime critic of the Chinese government, Mr. Yu endured frequent torture, harassment and house arrest.

His friend, Mr. Liu, is in prison serving an 11-year sentence for urging democratic reform in China.

Mr. Yu’s story is closely linked to Mr. Liu‘s.

Chinese authorities threatened Mr. Yu for writing a biography of Mr. Liu. Mr. Yu’s wife was put under house arrest after Chinese authorities found a note to her from the imprisoned Nobel laureate’s wife, Liu Xia.

Mr. Yu said his life changed Oct. 8, 2010, when Mr. Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Illegal house arrests, torture, surveillance … became part of my everyday life,” he told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington.

He provided vivid details of the torture and harassment he was subjected to by Chinese authorities.

“The day before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony was the darkest moment in my life,” he said.

On that day, Mr. Yu was forced to wear a black hood and taken from his home by security officials to an undisclosed location, where he was stripped naked and beaten.

“They also had a camera and were taking pictures as I was being beaten, saying with glee that they would post the naked photos online,” he said.

“They forced me to spread out my hands and bent my fingers backwards one by one. They said, ‘You’ve written articles attacking the Communist Party with these hands, so we want to break your fingers.’ “

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