Xu Zhangrun, a law professor in Beijing has been arrested by China’s law enforcement officials under the charges of “seeking out prostitutes”, which happens to be a very frequently observed allegation used for arresting people who express their dissent against the Chinese Communist Party.
Zhangrun was known among his university colleagues for publishing several essays that were critical of the Chinese government. That said, he also gained recognition on both national and international level for his views on authoritarianism in China.
Ever since 2018, Zhangrun was subject to routine disciplinary punishments which often attracted backlash from several Chinese intellectuals both in the country and around the world. By early 2019, all the courses he taught were also terminated in the university and he was no longer allowed to teach.
Zhangrun was arrested on July 6th in Beijing and at the time of the arrest, his wife was told that he was being arrested as he sought out prostitutes while on a visit to Sichuan province. It is worth noting that Zhangrun was already aware of the fact that he may be framed, as he had informed his friends about it well in advance.
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Zhangrun was taken into custody on grounds of the fake allegations by the police. What’s more, the accounts of the arrest are also quite contrary.
While one individual said that a huge convoy comprising 20 police officers came to arrest Zhangrun, the other said that only two or three policemen showed up. It is not an exaggeration to assume that the latter may have been threatened by the police and is lying as a result.
Although Zhangrun was critical about China in his writings for a while now, the final straw for the CCP may have been his article on the whole pandemic situation.
“The coronavirus epidemic has revealed the rotten core of Chinese governance; the fragile and vacuous heart of the jittering edifice of the state is thereby on display as never before,” wrote Zhangrun, in an article about COVID-19.