China's top university has fired a law professor who is a staunch critic of the ruling Chinese Communist Party leadership, including the constitutional change that allows President Xi Jinping to serve an indefinite term by lifting the two-time limit.
Xu Zhangrun, a pronounced Chinese law professor at Tsinghua University, was officially informed of his removal on Saturday, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Sunday.
Tsinghua University, of which President Xi is a famous alumni, was listed as China's number one university in the Times Higher Education World University ranking.
Wednesday's notification was sent to Xu by courier. The report quoted a friend who asked for anonymity for fear of retaliation.
Tsinghua University, where 57-year-old Xu has worked for 20 years, said it made the decision after meeting on July 10th.
Xu, a well-known jurist, is one of the few scholars who have publicly challenged the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) in a number of articles published online in China and overseas in recent years.
"We have confirmed that Xu Zhangrun has published many essays since July 2018, and this is a serious violation of the 10 standards of professional behavior of college teachers in the new era," the release said.
The guidelines issued by the Department of Education in 2018 said that teachers would be released or punished if they said or did something that undermines the authority of the CPC or violates the party's instructions and guidelines.
Earlier this month, the Chengdu police took Xu away from his Beijing home. His wife was later informed that he was arrested for requesting prostitutes when he traveled to the capital of Sichuan Province. This lawsuit was dismissed by Xu's friends as an attempt to discredit him.
Xu was released last Sunday and returned home after six days in prison.
In July 2108, Xu published his first criticism of the CPC leadership, which included one of the few public statements against the president's lifting of term limits that would allow Xi Jinping to remain in office after 2023.
Xi, 67, who is also the head of the Chinese Communist Party and the military, is currently in his second term.
All of Xi’s predecessors, with the exception of party founder Mao Zedong, adhered to the two-five-year norm to prevent the leadership of the CPC and the country from remaining in power.
The five-year standard was removed in 2018 from the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, to pave the way for a possible life-long term from Xi at the top.
Xu was suspended from teaching by Tsinghua in 2019, but he continued to write essays that criticized the party leadership.
In February and May, Xu published two long articles openly criticizing the CPC leadership for the abuse of the coronavirus.
With satire and a mix of modern and classic Chinese, Xu complained about how the country was isolated and how the public was gagged by fear and big data surveillance, the Post report said.
He also published a number of shorter essays criticizing the Chinese government in recent months.
The university informed Xu that if he wanted to appeal the dismissal, he would have to contact the Ministry of Education and the Beijing Education Commission.