Zhang Xuezhong, a professor teaching at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, was fired by the school earlier this week after he had posted an article criticizing China’s president and the Communist Party rule then failed to admit wrongdoing for it, according to Zhang.
Reuters reports that Zhang’s article, which he posted this summer, along with an online book he wrote called “New Common Sense”, aggravated authorities and university officials who tried on several occasions to get him to recant.
The article “The Origin and the Perils of the Anti-constitutionalism Campaign of 2013” criticized Xi Jinping as anti-constitutional, anti-free media and anti-judicial independence. His online book said that the one-party rule is illegal.
Zhang, 36, was suspended in August. Last month, law department and human resources asked him if he’d learned his lesson, according to Zhang.
“I said I did nothing wrong, so there’s nothing to admit.”
He said he’d received a verbal notice from the school saying that he was unfit for teaching and that his contract would be terminated at the end of December.
“I told him that for a university to persecute a teacher based on his views or thoughts is a serious public event. It could become a scandal of historic proportions,” Zhang said in the report.
Zhang’s story echoes that of a Peking University professor who, earlier this year, was fired from the school after he took to his classroom to criticize the Communist Party and its propagandists and demand for an end to the single-party rule in China.
The school claimed that the professor, Xia Yeliang, was fired not for his political beliefs, but because “He just wasn’t a good teacher,” according to a New York Times report.
Peking University had a partnership agreement with Wellesley College in the US. The news of Xia’s pending departure resulted in 130 faculty members from the school sending an open letter to Peking University’s president, warning that if he was fired for his political views, they would reconsider their partnership with the school. Xia was ultimately dismissed from the university.
In an interview with the Sunday Morning Post from 2011, Zhang had called for elections to be introduced on the mainland to stop the ruling party from “dominating and abusing power,” SCMP reports.
“He also dismissed suggestions education on the mainland was not robust enough to have a fully informed electorate and that democracy was impractical,” according to the report.
[Image via renren.com]