'Chinese scholar paid heavy price for criticising CCP'

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Xu Zhangrun, a former law professor at the Tsinghua University in Beijing. (File photo)
Xu Zhangrun, a former law professor at the Tsinghua University in Beijing. (File photo)

London [UK], August 28 (ANI): A UK-based scholar said former Tsinghua University law scholar Xu Zhangrun has paid a heavy price for his criticism of China's political and judicial system under the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and general secretary Xi Jinping.

Zhnagrun, a vocal critic of CCP was detained by Chinese authorities in July for allegedly soliciting prostitutes while visiting the southwest city of Chengdu. He was released later that month, however, is believed to be under house arrest at his Beijing home, under the constant gaze of surveillance cameras.

Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese Studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King's College, London, said: "These are dark days for anyone who takes a dissenting position in China", reported Radio Free Asia.

Xu had penned a 10,000-word essay dated May 21, 2020, in which he hit out at Xi Jinping for "isolating" China from the international community with his foreign policy.

"China's present totalitarian order has imposed a regime of censorship the likes of which has never been seen before," Xu writes.

"Under it, editing has become a particularly fraught occupation and shepherding anything through to publication a hazardous process."

"Everyone involved in the industry is hesitant. Authors feel that they are treading on thin ice," writes Xu, who also described living under surveillance cameras at his Beijing home in a December 2020 essay.

Following the essay, he was arrested by Chinese authorities detained by police for "patronising prostitutes" during a trip which Geng organised for a group of academics including Xu to the southwestern city of Chengdu last year.

Xu, who has since been released but cannot leave Beijing, denies the charges and has hired lawyers to clear his name.

Brown said: "[Xu] is able to observe the public world even though he is denied a voice in it. He watches debates online but isn't allowed to participate ... This seems to be the kind of purgatory the party wants to consign problematic figures to." (ANI)

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