søndag 8. mars 2020

‘This may be the last piece I write’: prominent Xi critic has internet cut after house arrest

The Chinese professor Xu Zhangrun, who published a rare public critique of President Xi Jinping over China’s coronavirus crisis, was placed under house arrest for days, barred from social media and is now cut off from the internet, his friends have told the Guardian.

Xu’s passionate attack on the government’s system of controls and censorship, Viral Alarm: When Fury Overcomes Fear, was published this month – a rare, bold expression of dissent from the liberal camp under Xi’s rule.

A friend of Xu’s who spoke on Sunday on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals said police placed Xu under house arrest soon after he returned to Beijing from his lunar new year break at his home town in Anhui province. “They confined him at home under the pretext that he had to be quarantined after the trip,” the friend said. “He was in fact under de facto house arrest and his movements were restricted.”