Calls to the Beijing police and Tsinghua University media for comment went unanswered on Sunday.
Xu, 57, became famous in July 2018 for denouncing the removal of the two-term limit for the Chinese leader, which will allow Xi to remain in office beyond his second current term.According to a text message sent to Xu’s friends and seen by Reuters, he was taken from his house in the suburbs of Beijing on Monday morning by more than 20 police officers, who searched his house and confiscated his computer.
According to Xu’s friends, the police told his wife that he was detained for allegedly requesting prostitution during a trip to Chengdu, but at least two friends rejected the allegation as a murder.
Since the 2018 article, Xu has written other party critics. At the height of the coronavirus epidemic in China in February, he wrote an article calling for freedom of expression.
In May, before the postponement of China’s annual parliamentary meeting, he wrote an article accusing Xi of trying to bring the cultural revolution back to China.
Under Xi, China suppressed dissent and tightened censorship.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Tuesday that the U.S. is deeply concerned about China’s detention of Xu and urged Beijing to release him.