İrem GÖL -TDO- According to Al Jazeera, China detained a constitutional scholar from Shanghai, after he published a letter calling on members of the National People’s Congress to draft a new constitution and criticised China for the way it dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. The scholar, Zhang Xuezhong, was detained on Sunday night and he was released early on Tuesday.
Zhang’s letter called for constitutional reforms, freedom of expression and the release of political detainees. The letter started to be circulated in the Chinese social media platforms. Zhang criticised the Chinese government for punishing Dr Li Wenliang, the doctor from Wuhan who first raised the alarm over coronavirus. After, Dr Li died from the disease.
Since 2012, President Xi Jinping has limited the free media and civil society heavily. Also, during his presidency, many journalists, lawyers and non-governmental activists have been jailed. More recently, the government were punishing the ones who criticised the government’s response to the coronavirus.