Dear Chairman Xi, It’s Time for You to Go

Dear Chairman Xi, It’s Time for You to Go

  • President Xi Jinping waves to the audience at the end of his speech for the 100th anniversary of the May 4 Movement at The Great Hall Of The People in Beijing

Xu Zhiyong is a legal scholar and former university lecturer from central China with a doctorate from Peking University. He co-founded the New Citizens Movement, a group that advocated civil rights and China’s peaceful transition to constitutional rule. Detained in July 2013, he was sentenced to four years’ jail in 2014 for “gathering crowds to disrupt public order.” Following his release, he continued to encourage his supporters through his online writing. He went into hiding in late 2019. The following open letter, which was released on February 4, 2020, was written while he was on the run. On February 15, Xu was detained in the southern city of Guangzhou.

This is the second letter that Xu Zhiyong addressed to Xi Jinping. In the first, published when Xi Jinping came to power in November 2012, the author expressed hope that Xi would not only continue the country’s economic reforms but that he would also guide China towards substantive political change. Seven years later, Xu’s hopes, and his tone, have changed markedly. Now, for the sake of the country, its people, and even history itself, the author appeals to Xi Jinping to step down.