Udayavni Special

Who is Ren Zhiqiang, prominent critic of Xi Jinping sentenced to 18 years in prison?


Team Udayavani, Sep 24, 2020, 12:06 PM IST

China has sentenced an influential former property executive and critic of President Xi Jinping to 18 years in prison for corruption

Beijing court announced that it had found Ren Zhiqiang, 69, guilty of embezzling public funds and taking bribes totaling about $2.9 million over the course of 14 years.

However, Rights campaigners accuse Xi and the Communist party of using corruption charges as a way to silence dissent.

According to CNN, Ren Zhiqiang is the former chairman of the state-owned Beijing Huayuan Group Co. Ltd. and is a member of the CCP.

Zhiqiang, a retired real-estate tycoon with close ties to senior Chinese officials, disappeared in March after he allegedly penned a scathing essay that month criticizing Xi’s response to the coronavirus epidemic.

In his letter he wrote that president Xi Jinping was a “clown” over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak

Earlier, in 2016, Ren was put on probation for a year as punishment for his public criticism of government policy. His social media accounts, which had tens of millions of followers, were shut down. During that time, he earned the nickname of “Cannon Ren” for his critical posts on social media

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