The author of a new book on Chinese President Xi Jinping says that his publisher has received threats from an individual claiming to have ties to the Communist Party, Stand News reported.

Song Pu is a lawyer and political commentator whose work has been featured in Stand News, Apple Daily, and BBC Chinese, amongst others. His new book, The Beginnings of CY Leung and Xi Jinping’s dictatorship, discusses Xi’s power struggle within the Communist Party and how he came to power, as well as his background and personality, according to Stand news.

Song and the new book. Photo: Stand News.

Song said that in early July, he and the publisher, Wu Yisan, made plans to release the book during the Hong Kong Book Fair, which kicked off this Wednesday. The writer then issued a press statement on July 13 announcing that the book release would be held on July 23.

According to Song, Wu told him that an individual claiming to be related to the Communist Party called him up after the press release came out. Wu said that his personal safety was seriously threatened. “He did not give further details of the threat – he just told me to not publish the book, because the Communist Party had already seen it,” Song said.

Causeway Bay Books. File Photo: Vivienne Zeng/HKFP.

See also: Publisher suspends launch of dissident’s new book on Xi Jinping due to ‘fear and pressure’

Song said that Wu was told writers could write whatever they want, even on topics such as the Cultural Revolution or Mao Zedong, but they were not allowed to write anything relating to Xi Jinping. Wu was warned that if he insisted on publishing the book, he would end up like “a certain somebody,” and although Wu did not explain what that meant, Song understood that it was a reference to the case of the missing Causeway Bay Books booksellers.

Song said it took a lot of persuading before Wu agreed to distribute the book, as Wu was extremely afraid. Song also said it was the first time this had happened in the eight to nine years he had been writing. Song described the incident as a tragic occurrence.

The book will be sold at the Hong Kong Book Fair at Greenfield Bookstore’s counter. The writer told Stand News that the contents are all based on facts, and that most of the essays in the new book have already been published on the now-defunct House News between January 2012 and December 2014.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.