HONG KONG—Security officers have questioned Professor Du Guang, formerly a teacher at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, over comments he made about the recent sentencing of well-known dissident Liu Xiaobo, sources familiar with the case said.
Liu, who played a leading role in drafting Charter 08—an online document calling for political reform in China—was sentenced by a Beijing court on Dec. 25 to 11 years in prison on charges of “incitement to subversion of state power.” He has since appealed that sentence.
In an interview early this month with Hong Kong’s Asia Weekly magazine, Du blasted Liu’s sentencing, calling the verdict against him “stupid and shameful.”
Contacted by a reporter, Du declined to comment, saying only, “Sorry, I cannot take the interview.”
“It is not convenient” to discuss the case, he added.
The Central Party School of the Communist Party of China is the highest-level training center for cadres of the Chinese Communist Party. Now retired, Du formerly served as curator of the school’s library and as head of its Office of Scientific Studies.
‘No way to deal with’ him
“[What Du did] is a reminder that there are progressive, justice-loving, and righteous forces within the Chinese Communist Party that cannot sit by doing nothing following the sentencing of Liu Xiaobo,” a staff member at the Central Party School said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Professor Du Guang is now in his 80s, and the school has no way to deal with him. He signs all petitions for political reform, such as Charter 08,” the staff member said.
Zhang Boshu, a scholar previously affiliated with the Institute of Philosophy at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, also expressed respect for the outspoken intellectual.
“Senior scholar Du Guang has never ceased voicing his appeal for political reform in recent years. I really admire his courage,” Zhang said.
In his interview with Asia Weekly, Du noted that Charter 08 calls on all Chinese to peacefully “work together to advance the great transformation of Chinese society, to make China a free, democratic and constitutional country.”
This would fulfill “the dream that the Chinese people have been pursuing tirelessly for a century,” he added.
Following the Asia Weekly interview, China’s Ministry of Public Security sent a letter to the Central Party School, requesting an investigation, according to sources in the writers’ group Independent PEN of China.
Two vice presidents of the school then directed the school’s personnel department to hold a “conversation” with Du concerning his activities and views, the sources said.
In a separate development, jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo appealed his conviction on Dec. 29.
His wife, Liu Xia, said a verdict on the appeal might be given before Chinese New Year’s Day on Feb. 14.
“The second verdict should be handed down within one and a half months, according to Chinese law,” she said.
“I have applied to the police for permission to visit my husband, but I am not sure if this can take place or not.”
Liu Xia added that she remains under tight surveillance by police.
Original reporting in Mandarin by Qiao Long. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Translations by Ping Chen. Written in English by Richard Finney. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.