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Xi critic gets 18 years jail term in China

By The SATimes News Service

Beijing: A court in China sentenced a former real estate tycoon and vocal critic of President Xi Jinping to 18 years in prison for corruption.

“Former property mogul was sentenced to 18 years and fined 4.2 million yuan ($620,000) for corruption, bribery, embezzlement of public funds, and abuse of power as state-owned company personnel,” state media quoted a Beijing court as ruling.

Ren, 69, reportedly confessed “voluntarily” to all charges and will not appeal against the decision.

The former chairperson of Huayuan Properties, a real estate development company, was detained in March after writing an essay criticizing China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ren did not name Xi in the essay but it was widely believed the critique was about the powerful Chinese leader; Ren even used the word ‘clown’ in his essay.

In July, Ren was expelled from the Communist Party of China for “seriously” violating the “party’s political, organizational, integrity, work and life disciplines”.

Ren had a massive following on China’s social media and was known as “cannon” for his outspoken and controversial views.

According to report and translation of his March essay, Ren is said to have written: “I saw not an emperor standing there exhibiting his ‘new clothes’,” but a clown who stripped naked and insisted on continuing being emperor.” (Hindustan Times)

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