Chinese professor fired by Tsinghua University after release from detention

Xu Zhangrun latest victim of China’s heavy-handed influence operations, loses job over ‘moral corruption’ accusation

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Chinese activist and former law professor at Beijing's Tsinghua University, Xu Zhangrun. (Twitter, ZhangZhulin photo)

Chinese activist and former law professor at Beijing's Tsinghua University, Xu Zhangrun. (Twitter, ZhangZhulin photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Outspoken jurist and law professor at Beijing's Tsinghua University, Xu Zhangrun (許章潤), said he has been stripped of his job at the institution shortly after being released from detention by the Beijing authorities on Sunday (July 12).

On July 6, the 57-year-old professor was reportedly removed from his home in Beijing for soliciting prostitution. However, his wife and close friends have defended his reputation and referred to the detention as Beijing's attempt to eradicate Chinese dissidents and stop their activism.

Global media suspected that Xu was targeted for openly criticizing Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) for mishandling the coronavirus pandemic. He was known to have lambasted Xi for trying to cover up pandemic information as well as pursuing totalitarian powers similar to former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Mao Zedong (毛澤東).

After Liu Suli (劉蘇里), an activist previously jailed for participating in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, confirmed that Xu had been released after six days of detention, the professor revealed Tuesday (July 14) that he had been fired by Tsinghua University, reported Liberty Times.

In an interview with RTHK, Xu said the university terminated his contract due to his "moral corruption." He said he would not pursue further actions against the school's decision and had not made any future plans at the moment.

Xu is far from the first example of China's heavy-handed influence operations. To take a recent case, in early June Chinese soccer player Han Reunze (郝潤澤) was released by his Serbian team after his father, the country's former soccer legend Hao Haidong (郝海東), challenged CCP rule publicly and urged the Chinese public to overthrow the authoritarian regime.