In an open letter, the persecuted scholar writes that freedom will eventually come to China. He criticised Xi Jinping and was fired from his university after six days in prison. The Communist Party paints a rosy picture of society, but people are suffering. For Xu, Chinese intellectuals are characterised by decadence. He pledges to challenge the authorities until death.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – In an open letter to his former students at Tsinghua University, Xu Zhangrun, a legal scholar persecuted for his criticisms of President Xi Jinping, says that totalitarianism is doomed to failure and freedom will eventually come to China.
Zu worked for many years at the prestigious Beijing-based university, which fired him for “moral corruption" after he was released from prison on 13 July.
He spent six days in prison on charges of soliciting prostitution during a visit to Chengdu (Sichuan) last summer. For his colleagues and friends, the charges are false and were laid in order to discredit him, destroy his reputation, and ensure that he lost his job.
The law professor had already been suspended from teaching in 2019 over an article criticising Xi's lifetime presidency. In February, he published another article criticising the "tyranny" of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), guilty of undermining China’s political system when it undertook reforms after Mao Zedong's death.
Last May, on the eve of the annual session of the National People's Congress, Xu asked Chinese leaders to reflect on their handling of the pandemic and apologise to the people for their mistakes.
In his view, the CCP's repression of civil society groups and its attacks against freedom of expression prevented the population from responding immediately to the COVID-19 emergency.
More than 500 former Tsinghua students raised 100,000 yuan (about US$ 14,300) to help the dissident professor. However, he declined the donation, saying that the funds should go those in need, and that he was healthy and would make a living selling his writing.
In his open letter, Xu attacks the Party and its mouthpieces (state media), which paint a rosy picture of Chinese society, when in fact many people struggle to make ends meet.
China, he believes, is on the brink. Communist leaders lead an "extravagant" lifestyle, whilst large segments of the population suffer. "Most of our compatriots are barely able to feed themselves and are struggling to survive," he writes.
Xu also lashes out at his fellow intellectuals, who are “characterised by decadence, pretension, and compliance”.
What is more, as the Communist regime clings to its vile institutions, other countries try to distance themselves from China.
Xu ends his message by saying that he will continue to call out the authorities for as long as he lives: “It is our responsibility and our fate to live through this time, to suffer, to keep the fires alive in the dark night, and to welcome the dawn”.