Xu Youyu

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Xu Youyu (simplified Chinese: 徐友渔; traditional Chinese: 徐友漁; pinyin: Xú Yǒuyú; Wade–Giles: Hsü Yu-yü, born 1947) is a Chinese scholar in philosophy, a public intellectual, and a proponent of Chinese liberalism.


Xu was a teenage Red Guard at the time of the Cultural Revolution,[1] He was a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences at the time of the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, and he tried in vain to persuade students to leave Tiananmen Square before the army suppression, as they refused to believe the soldiers would open fire on peaceful student protesters.[2][3] Investigated after the protests as a student sympathiser, he refused to admit guilt. His career suffered as he was demoted as director of his research centre and remained so until his retirement, having been denied research funding and unable to supervise postgraduate student projects.[3][4]

Xu is an expert on Western social theories, including Marxism and the Frankfurt School, and a noted historian of the Cultural Revolution.[citation needed] He is one of the signatories of the Charter 08, a manifesto to promote political reform and democratization in China.[4]

In 2014, Xu was awarded Sweden's Human rights Olof Palme Prize.[5]


  1. ^ "Mao's lust for power cooked up catastrophe". Taipei Times. Agence France-Presse. 18 May 2006. p. 9. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  2. ^ MacLeod, Calum (4 June 2009). "Remembering the Tiananmen Square Massacre". USA Today. 
  3. ^ a b "Reflections on Tiananmen: how the bloody events of 25 years ago shaped lives". South China Morning Post. 27 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Stanway, David (4 January 2009). "Beijing strikes at dissidents". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2009. 
  5. ^ "China pro-democracy activist Xu Youyu awarded Swedish rights prize","Daily Mail" , 19 December 2014.


  • Xu Youyu (1999). Xingxing sese de zaofan – hongweibing jingshen suzhi de xingcheng ji yanbian (Rebels of All Stripes: A Study of Red Guard Mentalities). Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.