BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese law professor said Tuesday that he has been expelled from his college after he refused to recant an article he wrote calling for constitutional rule in China.
The expulsion of Zhang Xuezhong from East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai comes at a time when the Chinese authorities are tightening ideological controls, and weeks after Peking University in Beijing dismissed the liberal economist Xia Yeliang from its faculty. Both Zhang and Xia champion free speech and the rule of law, and both believe their expulsions are politically motivated to punish their views.
Zhang, a lecturer at the Shanghai school since 2001, said he was notified orally of the university's decision Monday and that he plans to defend himself with a lawsuit against the school once he receives written notice.
"Taking up the legal means will have no effect on my case, but I will use every possibility to counter the (state) power so that the power would think twice when it persecutes others in the future," Zhang said.
The university's Communist Party chief, Du Zhichun, declined to discuss the matter when reached by phone.
Zhang said the institute accuses him of using the school's email system to share his book "New Common Sense." The book criticizes China's one-party rule.
The school also says Zhang has imposed his political views upon university faculty and staff and that he has taken advantage of his teacher's role to spread among students his political views in violation of teachers' ethical rules, Zhang said.
Zhang said university officials failed to give one example in which he fed his political views to students in the classroom and that exchanging political views with students as equals should be allowed. Zhang said he noted to school officials that the university has forced the government-sanctioned political views upon students.
Political indoctrination is part of the curriculum for Chinese students throughout their school years.
In June, Zhang riled the university leadership with an article in which he criticized the unusual campaign by the Beijing establishment against advocacy of constitutionalism. The Chinese Communist Party leadership has been wary of constitutionalism because it has the potential to undermine the party rule.
Following the June article, Zhang was banned from teaching any course at the university, but the censure failed to make Zhang contrite. The internal notice said Zhang has failed to realize his mistakes and act to correct them.
"I cannot admit mistakes that do not exist," Zhang said.