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Chinese authorities accused Mr. Yu of taking part in an effort to subvert the state, writing a critical book on Chinese leader Wen Jiabao, and working on Mr. Liu’s biography.

Mr. Yu was released Dec. 13, 2010, but the harassment did not end.

“Most of the time, I was unable to go to church or attend Bible study meetings and could not regularly practice my faith as a Christian,” he said.

“To me, that was a very painful thing.”

Eventually he decided to flee.

“I had no choice but to leave China, to make a complete break from the fascist, barbaric and brutal regime,” he said.

Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, said Mr. Yu had laid out “a raw, naked set of facts for which the Chinese government has to be made to answer.”

She said “rhetoric in defense of human rights by governments like the U.S. is helpful.”

She added, however, that “without meaningful and actionable policy consequences for a [country’s] failure to improve, it is likely the rhetoric doesn’t get us very far.”

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is due to visit Washington in February.

In China, Mr. Yu was forced to write a statement promising not to meet with foreign journalists, contact foreign embassies or criticize the nine members of the Politburo of the Communist Party.

He said promises he made were “null and void” because they had been extracted by torture and coercion.

On Wednesday, Mr. Yu met with Michael Posner, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, and Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican and co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Yu also intends to file a complaint with the U.N. Human Rights Council.

“I have already attained my hard-won freedom and security; to speak out for my compatriots who have neither freedom nor security is a responsibility and a mission that I cannot shirk,” he said.