Foreign Policy Magazine

The Steady Erasure of Dissent

for Xu Zhangrun. The Beijing-based legal scholar had long anticipated such a day would come, writing more than once that an essay might be his last and keeping a fresh change of clothes by the door of his home. A score of police officers surrounded and seized him, reportedly with an accusation that he had solicited prostitutes—a charge so commonly trumped up against dissidents that Xu himself previously warned it would be used against him. Until recently, he was a well-connected scholar at one of the country’s preeminent universities, Tsinghua. Now, he is in the opaque world of the party-state legal system. While he has been released for the moment, he remains closely monitored and is likely

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