Xu Zhangrun (Chinese: 许章润; pinyin: Xǔ Zhāngrùn; born October 1962) is a Chinese jurist. He is a professor of Jurisprudence and Constitutional Law at Tsinghua University, and a research fellow with the Unirule Institute of Economics.
Xu's research specializes in jurisprudence, Western legal philosophy, constitutional theory, and the relationship between Confucianism and law.
In July 2018, Xu published an essay, translated as "Imminent Fears, Immediate Hopes", where he rebukes the recent policy shifts of Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping, including the abolition of term limits and the restoration of a cult of personality, which is notable for being a rare expression of public dissent. The essay has been translated into English by Geremie Barmé. That essay received some commentary from Western scholars. Xu had been suspended and put under investigation. The article "Imminent Fears, Immediate Hopes" proposed to restore the Chinese Chairman's tenure system, namely, from the life tenure system to the fixed-term system. The article has been leading Chinese people to discuss it. Some support it, while some are worried about the life safety of the professor Xu. The article was released at a very sensitive time during various risks happening in China, including America and China being in a trading war and the fierce inner-conflicts of the seniors of China's Communist Party. Xu Zhangrun emphasized at the beginning of the article that the public, included the bureaucracy officers, are worried about the personal life safety problem and the national development direction. He pointed out the reason why people got those horrors were because of the ruling class breaking four basic principles which included the basic public security, the respect of the private property, the tolerance of the populace freedom life and the tenure system of the governing policy.
In April 2019, friends reported that the authorities had prohibited Xu from leaving the country. He was stopped from boarding a flight to Japan on a trip authorized and funded by Tsinghua University.
In February 2020, Xu published an essay Viral Alarm: When Fury Overcomes Fear condemning the Chinese Government's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Xu condemns how the government banned the reporting of factual information during the outbreak and connects this problem to a larger freedom of speech issue in China. After the publication of this essay, Xu's friends were unable to get in touch with him. His account has been suspended on WeChat and his named scrubbed from Weibo. It is believed he is under house arrest.
- "Xu Zhangrun". Tsinghua University School of Law. Tsinghua University School of Law.
- Buckley, Chris. "As China's Woes Mount, Xi Jinping Faces Rare Rebuke At Home". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
- Barme, Geremie. "Imminent Fears, Immediate Hopes — A Beijing Jeremiad". China Heritage. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
- Backer, Larry Catá (2018-08-17). "Law at the End of the Day: 孙晓义评许章润:我们当下的恐惧与期待/ Flora Sapio, Thoughts on Xu Zhangrun: Our current fears and expectations". Law at the End of the Day. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
- Backer, Larry Catá (2018-08-16). "Law at the End of the Day: 白轲评 许章润:我们当下的恐惧与期待/ Larry Catá Backer, Thoughts on Xu Zhangrun: Our current fears and expectations". Law at the End of the Day. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
- Buckley, Chris (2019-03-26). "A Chinese Law Professor Criticized Xi. Now He's Been Suspended". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
- Wangyun; Shenhua; Anke (27 July 2018). "清华教授许章润吁恢复主席任期制". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- "Chinese liberal icon vows to keep saying 'what needs to be said'". South China Morning Post. 2019-04-28. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
- Yu, Verna; Graham-Harrison, Emma (2020-02-15). "'This may be the last piece I write': now a Xi critic's words ring true". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2020-02-15.