Mon, Apr 08, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ministers back Chinese academic who criticized Xi

Staff Writer, with CNA

People walk near the gate of Tsinghua University in Beijing on July 27, 2016.

Photo: Reuters

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Saturday expressed support for a Chinese academic who was suspended from his post after criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

Xu Zhangrun (許章潤), a law professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, was this month suspended after writing several articles criticizing the Chinese government. One of the articles, from July last year, is an an essay titled “Our Current Fears and Expectations” denouncing Xi’s cult of personality.

In a series of text messages, Xu said that several university officials on March 25 ordered him to cease his lectures and research projects, saying that a university “work team” would investigate the essays he has written since July last year, the New York Times reported on March 27.

Professional advice from academics can serve as the conscience of society, Chen has said in a statement.

A civilized society should respect diverse views, as cracking down on different opinions, criticism and dissent only undermines harmony and stability, he added.

Xi’s repeal of presidential term limits in the Chinese constitution has been criticized by intellectuals and academics who dared to speak up, Chen said.

He added that the criticisms are widely supported by Taiwanese and the international community, so Beijing’s response would be closely watched.

Chen also called on the Chinese authorities to reflect on the flaws of the one-party dictatorship and to implement reforms so that the expectations of Chinese can be met.

Wu, who served as MAC minister from 2004 to 2007, in a tweet written in simplified Chinese, praised academics who supported Xu.

“I admire those who have the courage to support professor Xu Zhangrun. I see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Wu wrote.

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