Here’s one for all the Marxists out there. Ren Zhiqiang, a Chinese real estate tycoon, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for publicly criticizing Xi Jinping’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic (CBC). He is also being fined 4.2m yuan ($620,000). Zhigiang vanished in March. He was known for his criticism of Chinese censorship and other issues. He had been accused in state run media as having “anti-communist thoughts” (BBC).
Zhiqiang’s ruling party membership and appointment as the head of a government owned property development company seemed to give him a little leeway. He was so outspoken he earned the nickname “Big Cannon Ren.” After criticizing Xi outright however he was arrested. He was given a one day trial on 22 September.The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court said Ren had accepted bribes worth 1.25m and embezzled almost 50m yuan and had “voluntarily confessed.”
The Chinese ruling communist party cracks down on dissent and free speech. Usually dissidents and those critical of policy are often accused of bribery or other business related charges.