China economist critical of government sacked from university

An outspoken Chinese economist known for his public support of democratic reform in communist China announced on Saturday that he had been sacked from his university in Beijing.

Chinese students study at a university in Beijing on May 30, 2013

"They fired me on Friday and denied that their motives were political or because of my views," Professor Xia Yeliang, who lectures at the prestigious Peking University, told AFP.

"They told me not to talk to the foreign media," the economist said, adding that the director of his faculty had already given him a warning back in June.

Xia told AFP he believed his dismissal stemmed from his political views, particularly his support for Charter 08, a document calling for the emergence of a more pluralist democracy in China signed by hundreds of intellectuals, dissidents and journalists.

He said he had continued, despite the pressure, to publish microblogs and texts promoting greater freedom of speech and the rule of law in China.

Dissident intellectual and the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is currently serving 11 years in prison for co-authoring the Charter 08 document.

The arrival of new leadership at the top of the Chinese Communist Party has not opened up political discussion in the country.

Instead, authorities have strengthened their control over online social networks in a crackdown on dissenting voices.

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency