Ren Xi Jiang: Chinese President jailed for 18 years for criticizing Xi Jinping’s use of corona virus

Ren Xi Jiang: Chinese President jailed for 18 years for criticizing Xi Jinping's use of corona virus
Ren Xiqiang, a retired real estate tycoon with close ties to senior Chinese officials Disappeared in March He is said to have written a scathing article that month criticizing Xi’s response to the corona virus infection. He was later charged with corruption.

On Tuesday, a court in Beijing found Ren guilty of several counts, including embezzlement of about 16.3 million (110.6 million yuan) in public funds, bribery, and abuse of power. The property company he once headed.

The judges sentenced him to 18 years in prison and fined him $ 620,000 (4.2 million yuan). The court said he had “voluntarily confessed to all the crimes he had committed” and was “ready to accept the court’s verdict once all of his illegal gains have been recovered.”

China’s court system has a 99% sentencing rate, According to legal observers, And allegations of corruption are often used to pursue Communist Party insiders.

Renin’s sentence and harsh sentence are designed to send a message to other members of the Chinese elite that any public criticism or opposition to Xi will not be tolerated as Beijing faces severe international pressure from Washington following the outbreak of the epidemic. Others.

‘Cannon’

Born into the ruling elite of the Communist Party, the 69-year-old Ren spoke openly about Chinese politics, often more than is generally allowed in a dictatorial state.

His honesty earned him the nickname “The Canon” on Chinese social media.

In the article Released in MarchThe author denounced the party’s repression of freedom of the press and tolerance of opposition, which was widely reported to Renu. Although the article does not mention Shia by name, it does refer to the country’s top leader as a power-hungry “clown”.

“I have never seen an emperor display his‘ new clothes ’, but a clown took off his clothes and insisted on continuing to be an emperor,” Ren wrote Shi’s speech to 170,000 officials across the country at a mass video conference. Epidemic control measures on 23 February.

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The Communist Party blamed its own interests on the protection of the Chinese people and its rule.

“Without the media representing the interests of the people by publishing the real facts, people’s lives are being destroyed by both the virus and the great disease of the system,” Ren wrote.

As soon as the article was published online, Ren went missing, and relatives feared he would be detained. Officers confirmed Ren’s presence Allegations of corruption were investigated in early April, And expelled a longtime member of the Communist Party in July, paving the way for his criminal trial.

This is not the first time Ren has run away from the Chinese leadership for speaking his mind.

He was disciplined in 2016 after Chinese state media questioned Xi’s demands on social media that he be completely loyal to the party. He was nominated for a one-year term as a member of his party and his popular account on China’s Twitter-like site Weibo was closed.

This time, however, Ren seems to have no second chance. If he serves his full sentence, he will be in his late 80s by the time he is released.

CNN’s James Griffiths, Nectar Gunn and Ben Westcott contributed to the reporting.

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Will Smith

About the Author: Will Smith

Alfred Lee covers public and private tech markets from New York. He was previously a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University, and prior to that was a reporter at the Los Angeles Business Journal. He has received a Journalist of the Year award from the L.A. Press Club and an investigative reporting award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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