US urges China to free law professor who criticized Xi Jinping over coronavirus

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 07, 2020, 11.17 PM(IST)

Chinese president Xi Jinping Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

In February, Xu published an essay criticising the culture of deception and censorship fostered by Xi for the spread of the coronavirus in China.

The United States has called for the release of the Chinese professor who was detained in China for criticising President Xi Jinping over coronavirus pandemic. 

Also read: China detains law professor for criticising President Xi Jinping over coronavirus pandemic

Chinese authorities had detained Xu Zhangrun, a law professor on Monday for writing essays criticising President Xi Jinping over coronavirus pandemic and his efforts to consolidate power.

"We are deeply concerned by the PRC's detention of Professor Xu Zhangrun for criticizing Chinese leaders amid tightening ideological controls on university campuses in China," State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said, referring to the People's Republic of China.

"The PRC must release Xu and uphold its international commitments to respect freedom of expression," she wrote on Twitter.

×

In February, Xu published an essay criticising the culture of deception and censorship fostered by Xi for the spread of the coronavirus in China.

He wrote that China's "leader system is itself destroying the structure of governance". He went on to add that the chaos in the virus epicentre of Hubei province reflected systemic problems in the Chinese state. Xu's essay was posted on foreign websites. 

Xu is a law professor at Tsinghua University, which is considered as one of the top universities in China. He even spoke against the abolition of presidential term limits in 2018 in an essay that circulated online. 

US-China ties have been badly affected due to coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump has outright blamed China for their poor COVID-19 response.