China leadership critic Xu Zhangrun sacked one day after release, friends say

China leadership critic Xu Zhangrun sacked one day after release, friends say

  • Tsinghua University is understood to have dismissed the outspoken academic who was released on Sunday
  • Xu wrote a number of articles critical of the Communist Party before he was taken away by police for nearly a week

Xu Zhangrun, the outspoken critic of China’s leadership, has been sacked by Tsinghua University, where he taught for 20 years, after being released from police custody on Sunday morning, sources told the South China Morning Post.

“His dismissal from all positions is pretty much a certainty, and I learned it Monday night. It’s possible that this decision was made earlier than Monday. We just don’t know what the reasoning is yet, and if the decision complies with the regulations. Too soon. I don’t even know how to comment,” one of Xu’s university colleagues said.

The Post was unable to reach Xu for comment and phone calls to Tsinghua University’s publicity office went unanswered on Tuesday.

Xu was taken away by police on the morning of July 6 from his home in the outskirts of Beijing and spent almost a week in custody. The police told Xu’s wife that he was suspected of soliciting prostitutes in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

A friend of Xu’s, Beijing-based writer Wang Bin, earlier told the Post Xu had visited Chengdu last summer. Soliciting prostitutes is not a criminal offence, instead it is a violation of public security administration regulations and carries a maximum penalty of 15 days’ detention.