A Chinese law professor at Tsinghua University, known for being an outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), was arrested and detained for six days in July on allegations of “soliciting prostitutes.”
After he was released, he issued an open letter, declaring, “Totalitarianism will lose, freedom will come to my country!” He called on people to abandon the regime and have hope for the future.
But the university soon fired him.
Police arrested 57-year-old Xu Zhangrun at his home in Beijing on July 6. Police later said he was detained on suspicion of soliciting prostitution.
Xu was released on July 12. Three days later, Tsinghua University dismissed Xu for having committed “a serious violation of the 10 Standards of Professional Conduct for Teachers in Tertiary Institutes in the New Era.” The guidelines, issued by China’s Ministry of Education in 2018, stipulate that teachers are to be fired or punished if they say or do anything that undermines the authority of the CCP or violates the directions and policies of the Party. According to the guidelines, teachers should “adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a new era and support the leadership of the CCP,” referring to Chinese leader Xi’s political ideology.
After his firing, over 500 Tsinghua University alumni initiated a donation drive for Xu that brought in more than 100,000 yuan ($14,308). In his July 19 open letter, Xu thanked them but said he would not accept the money. He said he was still able to make a living by writing, and that the money should go to people who experience great hardships.
The charge of “soliciting prostitutes” has often been used by authorities to crack down on dissidents. Xu’s friends said it was likely his open criticism of the Chinese regime that led to his arrest.
In February, Xu called out the CCP for causing the global pandemic, in an article titled, “The Angry People Fear No More.” In the article, he criticized the Chinese regime for having wrought disasters due to its “incompetence,” “moral corruption,” and “institutional failures.” He called on the 1.4 billion Chinese people to “get ready to embrace with your strength, your heart, and your life—the spirit of freedom that shall shine upon the land.”
In May, Xu published another article titled, “China, the Lone Boat in the Ocean of World Civilization,” providing a laundry list of the Chinese regime’s deceptive tactics. He concluded by saying, “Enough with the mountain of corpses and the seas of blood from 70 years of red dictatorship!”
Li Hengqing, also a Tsinghua University alumni and former student dissident during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, told The Epoch Times that the communist regime uses the prostitution allegation to criminalize anyone it pleases. “The regime shows no bottom line when it comes to [making up] excuses. I have no doubt that’s what they would do,” Li said.