Beijing police arrested an outspoken critic of Chinese President Xi Jinping morning as his administration took steps to crack down on potential threats to the Communist Party stemming from the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Tsinghua University, was taken away by police from his house at a Beijing suburb, according to his friend, Geng Xiaonan, who said she got the information from his domestic helper, his wife. She said she believed Xu’s arrest was linked to a book he published in New York, a collection of ten political essays with scathing criticisms of Xi and the Communist Party’s rule. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said he had no information about the arrest when asked during a regular briefing in Beijing.
News of Xu’s detention came as the official Legal Daily reported that a working group on political security was added to a law enforcement task force first established to defuse any social unrest stemming from the government’s response to the virus.