He sharply criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping’s corona measures – then Ren disappeared Zhigiang of the audience. Now he has been sentenced to a long prison term.

Chinese real estate magnate Ren Zhiqiang, a critic of President Xi Jinping, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for corruption and embezzlement. The 69-year-old was found guilty by a Beijing court, among other things, of misappropriating public funds worth nearly 50 million yuan (6.3 million euros), the court said Tuesday.

Ren is also said to have accepted 1.25 million yuan in bribes. The court stated that the entrepreneur “voluntarily and truthfully” acknowledged his guilt in all respects and did not want to appeal. Ren was also fined 4.2 million yuan.

Ren criticizes presidents and disappears from the audience

Ren used to be part of the Communist Party elite. He previously headed the state-owned Huayuan company. Ren’s often blunt criticism of Xi earned him the nickname “Big Cannon”. He had disappeared from the public eye since March. Shortly before, he had been sharply critical of the president’s approach to the corona pandemic.

Since Xi became the highest state office in 2012, the authorities and the party have intensified their repression against critics. Human rights activists accuse Xi of using corruption charges to silence critics.

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