November 29, 2023

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Ren Jiqiang: Chinese businessman jailed for 18 years for criticizing Xi Jinping for handling coronavirus

Ren Jiqiang: Chinese businessman jailed for 18 years for criticizing Xi Jinping for handling coronavirus
Ren Jikiang, a retired real estate businessman with close ties to senior Chinese executives Disappeared in March He wrote a serious article that month criticizing G’s response to the coronavirus epidemic. He was later convicted of corruption offenses.

On Tuesday, a court in Beijing convicted Rennie of several charges, including embezzlement of about 3 16.3 million (110.6 million yuan) in public funds, accepting bribes and abusing power, costing the state $ 17.2 million (116.7 million yuan). The property company he once headed.

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 his crimes” and was “ready to accept the court’s verdict after recovering all his illicit profits.”

The Chinese court system has a 99% sentencing rate, According to legal observers, And allegations of corruption are used to follow the internal leaders of the Communist Party.

Ren’s indictment and heavy sentence were designed to send a message to other members of China’s elite that Xi would not tolerate public criticism or contempt, as Beijing continues to deal with the fall of the pandemic and faces intense international pressure from Washington and others.

‘The Canon’

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

He directly earned the nickname “The Canon” on Chinese social media.

In the article Published in March, Widely attributed to Ren‌, the author severely strikes down the party’s repression of freedom of the press and intolerance of dissent. Although the article does not mention Ginny by name, it describes the country’s top leader as a power-hungry “clown”.

“I did not see an emperor standing there displaying his ‘new clothes’, but a clown who undressed and insisted on remaining an emperor,” Ren wrote at a mass video conference on February 23 about G’s speech to 170,000 officials across the country.

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The article accused the Communist Party of putting its own interests above the security of the Chinese people, in order to secure its rule.

“Without a media that represents the interests of the people by publishing factual facts, people’s lives are being ruined by both the virus and the major illness of the system,” Ren alleged.

As soon as this article was published online, Ren disappeared and relatives feared he might be taken into custody. Authorities confirmed that Ren was present Allegations of corruption were investigated in early April, And expelled a longtime member from the Communist Party in July, paving the way for his criminal prosecution.

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

In 2016, he was disciplined after questioning social media ji’s demands to be completely loyal to the China State Media Party. He has been under scrutiny for a year for his party membership and his popular account on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, has been shut down.

However, this time Ren‌ has no second chance. If he enjoys his full sentence, he will be in his late 80s by the time he is released.

James Griffiths of CNN, Nectar Gone and Ben Westcott contributed to the reporting.

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