Xu, a recent college graduate and reporter with Xiafei Ribao (Consumer Daily), was an active participant in the Xin Qingnian Xuehui (New Youth Sudy Group), an informal group who explored topics related to political and social reform and used the Internet to circulate relevant articles.
Xu was arrested on March 13, 2001, and subsequently fired from his reporting job. He and three others were tried that September on charges that they intended to "overthrow the Chinese Communist Party's leadership and the socialist system and subvert the regime of the people's democratic leadership."
The trial focused on two essays, Be a New Citizen, Reform China, and , which were circulated on the Internet. No verdict was pronounced until May 28, 2003 - more than two years after his arrest - when Xu was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He still is serving that term.
International Press Freedom Award